By Dan Moffett
One of the first orders of business for newly elected Mayor Keith Waters is brokering peace between members of the La Coquille Club and the Eau Palm Beach Spa & Resort.
For months, some members have complained to the Town Commission that the club, which Eau manages, is not responsive to their requests and isn’t financially transparent.
Under Manalapan’s planned unit development agreement with the hotel, the club is intended to be operated as a “first-class social club for the residents of the town.”
Former Mayor David Cheifetz criticized the club’s management during the April 25 town meeting, saying “there’s some financial accountability that’s missing and should be looked into.” Former Commissioner Robert Evans also complained that club management ignored members’ requests for more transparency.
Michael King, the Eau’s managing director, disagreed, telling the commission that the club’s financial records are detailed, accurate and “readily available” to any member who wants to see them.
“All the revenue generated by La Coquille is reported on the financial statement,” King said.
He told the commission the club has lost an average of $58,000 a year during his eight years as director. King said that for years the club’s board showed no interest in the nuts and bolts of how it was run. Now that there is interest, he said the hotel is responding.
Waters said he believed that finding liaisons to improve communications between the club board and hotel will clear up most of the complaints. Waters said he hopes to have the issues resolved during the summer so the club can enter the tourist season with a fresh start. He praised the performance of the club in delivering the service it’s supposed to, noting tables have been hard to get. “The club is operating at the highest level I’ve ever seen,” he said.
In other business, the commission unanimously approved two ordinance changes so that commissioners get the last word on architectural and landscaping reviews of commercial projects.
Waters proposed the amendments, saying the changes would streamline the process and allow the Architectural Commission to finish its work before the town considers project approval.
By Dan Moffett