Audubon Park Golf Club
Audubon Golf Course's huge financial losses continue unabated
(Updated 2021) Every year since 2003, we have heard the claims by the Audubon Commission and Audubon Nature Institute that their still controversial “new” golf course is "a success!" When they demolished the original historic Audubon Golf Course in 2001, and began constructing the new course with $6 million mostly public dollars, the AC/ANI 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 AC/ANI’s claims of "success" and "support for the park", we find mostly financial losses. Usually big ones.

For most of these years, we plugged in the Audubon Golf Course income/loss numbers directly from the Audubon Commission's audited financial statements posted on the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s website. For the twenty 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 each of the other Audubon Commission facilities.

But starting in 2016, things changed, and not in a good way: suddenly, Audubon decided to stop treating the golf course as a separate facility, and began to hide the abysmal golf course numbers among the overall 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.

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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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