Audubon Park Golf Club
Audubon Golf Course's huge financial losses continue unabated (2018)
Every year since 2003, we have heard the claims by the Audubon Commission and Audubon Nature Institute that their controversial new golf course is "a success!" When they constructed it in 2001-2002 with $6 million mostly public dollars, they claimed the project was necessary in order to raise money for maintenance and support of Audubon Park. But every year when we dutifully update the financial numbers that are supposed to support the Audubon Commission's claims of "success" and "support for the park", we find only financial losses. Usually big ones.

But starting in 2016, things changed, and not in a good way. For the 20 years between 1995 and 2015, it was a simple process to determine each year's golf course losses because the facility had its own column in the public "Schedule of Revenues and Expenses", along with all the other Audubon Commission facilities. But starting in 2016, lo and behold, the golf course numbers were rolled into the park and zoo numbers so they would no longer be immediately detectable! No one on the Audubon Commission seems to know who authorized this change in their public records either.

So much for transparency by a public body that is supposed to be answerable to the public.

But we persevered, and used public record requests to determine the ongoing golf course losses. In 2016, golf course losses totaled $717,200 even BEFORE a modest approximation of $500,000 of depreciation was added (13% of total park depreciation), for a grand total of approximately a $1.2 million dollar loss in 2016. In 2017, the golf course only lost $83,400 before depreciation of about $500,000 was added in. Since depreciation breakdown by facility was no longer part of the public record, the total operating losses were probably even more, since total park depreciation and amortization numbers also soared, from $3,753,067 in 2015 to $4,314,435 in 2016 and $4,550,168 in 2017.

Audubon Commission Combining Statement of Revenues and Expenses, 1995-2004

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New Golf Facility Continues to Lose Money
[From 2003, updated 2007] Despite the ANI's claim that the new golf course was necessary to provide 'operational funds for maintenance of Audubon Park', their much-heralded new facility finished its first full year of operation (2003) firmly in the red, with a loss of $212,696, plus depreciation of $123,604 for a total Operating Loss of $336,300. Their 'not-a-restaurant' clubhouse food service, however, accounted for 24% of total revenue in 2003, far more than the 3% they had projected.

But even though the ANI quickly began renting the clubhouse as a private party rental facility, something they had vowed would never happen (see below), the golf facility has continued to lose money. In 2007, with operating revenues of $1,818,402 and expenses of $2,154,702, the Audubon Golf Course closed 2007 with an Operating Loss of $415,819.

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The Clubhouse Cornerstone
From the outset, ANI officials doggedly insisted that the function of the new clubhouse was to provide facilities "for the comfort of users of the golf course". In a deposition from January 2003, Dale Stastny swore under oath that NO non-golf related functions would be allowed in the building, weddings and wedding receptions specifically would not be permitted in the clubhouse, and that if someone asked to hold such an event in the clubhouse, they would be told "no".
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