Effort by local investors to buy Fianna Hills Country Club hits a wall

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 5,027 views 

An effort by a local investor group to buy Fianna Hills Country Club and golf course in Fort Smith is contractually “dead as a doornail,” but a planned Thursday meeting of those interested in acquiring the facility could change that reality, according to Pete Charlton.

Charlton has worked with around 60 Fianna Hills residents who formed Fianna Golf LLC to buy the club and course that was closed by owner David Millé on Dec. 31, 2018.

According to Charlton, the residents agreed to pay $1.1 million for the club and course and initially set a Sept. 15 closing date. However, a few issues found during due diligence created the need to delay the closing, Charlton said. Roof damage from hail storms was handled by “a storm chaser” and “basically the roof was not done properly,” Charlton said. The group was also working with a professional management company to develop a pro forma business plan required by the bank interested in financing the deal.

The deal began to unravel when Fianna Golf wanted to extend the closing date by 60 days to learn more about the roof issue, develop the pro forma plan and consider other issues. But, according to Charlton, Mille wanted a $100,000 non-refundable deposit to approve the extension. After more negotiation on the extension request, Charlton said it was eventually decided to send Millé a letter terminating the offer to buy the club and course.

Millé has refused to talk about the issue and told Talk Business & Politics to not contact him about the potential sale of the club and the course. However, Millé was sent an e-mail seeking his comments for this story.

Charlton said he is working to organize a meeting Thursday to discuss more details with area residents who wanted to buy the club and course. Unless members of the group want to raise more money and again negotiate with Mille, the deal is dead, Charlton said.

He said it will be a shame if the deal doesn’t happen because the money is there, the financing is there, and a professional management company is interested – but has not made a formal offer – in managing the club. Charlton said he has heard from some residents who may be willing to pay more to buy the club and has even heard from “big money people” who were willing to give if the deal came to fruition.

“Everybody wants this club and this course to open. Everybody,” Charlton said Monday, adding that it’s in the best interests of owners of the 178 homes that immediately surround the course for it to again be an active operation.