The Trump Organization still may buy The Point Lake and Golf Club in Mooresville after all, depending on the results of a community straw vote Jan. 23.
The organization, owned by real-estate mogul Donald Trump, had been in talks with property owner Crescent Communities for more than a year.
But when The Point's advisory board of directors unanimously recommended selling the club to Trump, several residents protested. The board's recommendation came just as Crescent was scheduled to transfer control of The Point to members Jan. 1, in exchange for $3 million. The transfer had always been planned in The Point's bylaws.
"I just felt it was an unfair and flawed process," resident Jim Carter said of the decision to sell to Trump.
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In light of the tension between the advisory board and residents, Trump's son Eric announced in early December that the organization was no longer interested in buying the club.
But just a couple weeks later, advisory board member Roger Schwartz said Trump came back to say he may reconsider, depending on the results of a community straw vote.
Schwartz said community residents will decide whether they'd prefer the club to be resident-owned or Trump-owned at a Jan. 23 meeting.
During the meeting, the nine-member advisory board will give presentations on both options. Residents then will have a few days to cast their vote, either by proxy or in person.
"A lot of us are hopeful that the membership will be given a balanced and unbiased and objective view of each of the two options," said resident Bill Fitzharris.
Carter said he wants the Trump presentation to fully disclose the organization's plans for the Point Lake over the next decade.
For instance, Carter wants to know what types of developments Trump has planned for The Point, including whether condominiums are a possibility.
"A lot of people like the feeling and the atmosphere and the price of the community," said Carter. "I have nothing against Trump, but I prefer the atmosphere we have now. Do you want five-star and chandeliers? Or do you want The Point to stay The Point?"
A quorum - or 30 percent - of the 1,000-plus members will need to vote on the two options presented at the Jan. 23 meeting to make it representative, said Schwartz.
If the majority of voters express an interest in the Trump option, the board will restart negotiations with the Trump Organization, said Schwartz. He said votes will be weighted depending on a resident's membership status.
Members may vote on allowing the purchase as soon as 30 days after negotiations with Trump are finalized, said Schwartz.
Carter said he hopes residents support a membership-owned club.
"If Trump buys the club, obviously you become invisible; you have no say. It's gone. It's sold," said Carter. "If you live in the community, why would you want to lose control of it if you don't have to?"
He pointed to the Peninsula in Cornelius and Ballantyne Country Club in south Charlotte as examples of successful member-owned clubs. Crescent formerly owned both.
"Member-owned and controlled seems to be very successful. I prefer that route," he said. "It's your life, your home, your front yard, your backyard. It's a big decision."