City terminates Mystic Creek lease

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The city officially owns Mystic Creek Golf Club & Banquet Center, in Milford, after a 7-0 city council vote during a special meeting Nov. 19.

Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. planned the special meeting with council members and city officials to discuss negotiations after the city took over Mystic Creek in late October.

The vote included the termination of Mystic Creek’s lease agreement and appropriation of $900,000, of the city’s general fund, to pay for the ownership transition.

Mystic Creek is a 27-hole golf facility and banquet center in Camp Dearborn.

O’Reilly said the city will pay $350,000 up front to Jim Dewling, president and CEO of Total Golf Inc., and Mystic Creek Acquisition LLC, the golf course’s former operator. The city will use $500,000 to pay any leftover bills, which the company originally owed; the city plans to wait to pay Dewling’s company $50,000 when the liquor license transfers.

“Today we have two choices,” O’Reilly said. “Either we reach an agreement or the alternative is we do a hostile takeover and we exercise under the contract our right to terminate the lease.”

According to a published report, Dewling will work unpaid at Mystic Creek to manage the liquor license until the city receives the license. The city hired other Mystic Creek employees on an emergency basis.

O’Reilly said if the transaction between the city and Mystic Creek was a “hostile takeover” they would not receive any assets from the golf course.

O’Reilly said the city still has to pay the liquor bill, among other past-due bills with vendors and they will own the golf and banquet center equipment, and take over existing leases.

“We are paying all the vendors who provide things for the pro shop,”

O’Reilly said. “But we still have inventory for the pro shop. It is not a net payout because there are other things we are attaining and value will be added.”

In a 5-0 vote, during an Oct. 30 city council meeting, councilors approved a temporary $260,000 budget to operate the facility for the rest of the year. The money will come from the city’s fund balance, while Camp Dearborn Manager Lee Morris prepares a budget for the remaining fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2013.

Councilman David Bazzy said he is concerned about the city managing Mystic Creek and possibly shelling out more money from the general fund.

“We can sit down and talk about how much money we are going to fund,” Bazzy said, adding that he looks forward to having a meeting with Dewling.

Greg Orner, director of the city’s Recreation and Parks Department, said Dewling said he would not keep up with payments to Dearborn for the 52-year lease agreement and he was likely to move away from facility operations, according to a published report.

Mystic Creek is the second golf course Dearborn owns; it also owns Dearborn Hills Golf Course, 1300 S. Telegraph Road.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at