Lake Norman & Mooresville

Trump deal could be decided soon

The Trump Organization may decide as early as this week whether it will continue negotiations to buy The Point Lake and Golf Club in Mooresville.

The decision could rest on the results of a community straw vote during a meeting last week.

During that meeting, which was closed to the media, The Point's advisory board of directors gave presentations on the different ownership options that members could choose.

Five board members endorsed a member-owned club while three members endorsed a Trump-owned club, according to one resident who asked not to be identified because negotiations are ongoing and residents have been asked not to talk to the media.

The ninth advisory board member mediated.

The Trump Organization, owned by celebrity real estate mogul Donald Trump, had been in talks with property owner Crescent Communities to purchase The Point for more than a year.

But when The Point's advisory board unanimously recommended selling the club to Trump, several residents protested.

"If we hadn't stepped in and said, 'No,' we wouldn't be having a straw vote," said the resident who spoke with The Observer last week.

The board's recommendation came just as Crescent was scheduled to transfer control of The Point to members, on Jan. 1, in exchange for $3 million. The transfer is called for in The Point's bylaws.

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.

"I think it's going to be an extremely close vote," the resident said.

More than 400 residents attended last week's meeting, with support for both options for a sale, said the resident.

"Some golfers feel like it's the deal of a lifetime," the resident said about the Trump option. "They're looking at the bigger picture quicker and they're not worried about what our fees are going to be."

Proponents of a Trump-owned club say that the investment would give the club some much-needed renovations and updates.

They also believe the country club would be more prosperous and fiscally sound than one owned by its members.

Opponents hope to preserve The Point's family-friendly atmosphere with a member-owned club, said the resident who spoke with the Observer.

"How can you even think that Trump's not going to change it? He said he is going to keep it family-style, but look at any of his other clubs and they're pretty and elegant," said the resident. "We did not buy into that."

Some homeowners have complained that the board hasn't been open about negotiations.

The board has spent at least $250,000 during 18-months of negotiations on a $3 million property, the resident said.

Residents weren't immediately told that the board was negotiating with a third party or that it was spending as much money as it was, the resident said.

Residents have not seen a draft of a contract, the resident said.

"There was a big question of whether they were even allowed to negotiate with a third-party when they did," said the resident. "But our biggest problem is that we found out about the thousands of dollars they spent after the fact. They never even held a community vote."

If the majority of The Point's membership voted in favor of a Trump-owned country club during the straw vote, the Trump Organization will likely continue its negotiations.

In that case, The Point could hold a formal vote on a Trump purchase by the end of February or beginning of March.

Eric and Donald Trump are expected to attend for that vote, according to information provided at last week's meeting.

Regardless of the results, the resident who spoke to the Observer said she is concerned that the fervent division among neighbors over the two options will have long-term repercussions.

"We are an awesome, tight-knit community that has been torn by this transition, and it doesn't have to be this way," the resident said. "It's going to be a long road either way, and that's just sad."