City golf course controversy heats up, councilman questions expenses

City golf course controversy heats up, councilman questions expenses
(WMC-TV) - The Memphis golf course controversy is heating up with new revelations about unusual expenses involving taxpayer dollars.

Some of the numbers just don't seem to add up.

This all began when the city called for the closure of Whitehaven golf course due to lost revenues.

That's Councilman Edmund Ford, Jr.'s district.

He took a closer look at all the golf courses and found some questionable expenses.

"Something is going on," said Ford.

According to Memphis city records, Whitehaven is losing the most money out of all the city's eight public golf courses.

 But newly released data has Ford scratching his head.

"When you look at all of the numbers for all of the golf courses, some things just do not add up," he said. 

After months of protest by golfers who said that expenses for other courses are being assigned to Whitehaven, Ford requested a line-by-line budget.

Now, the data is in and Action News 5 had obtained a copy, see it by clicking here.

"Expenditures were triple and quadruple for particular golf courses," said Ford. 

For one, ford found it peculiar that Whitehaven Golf Course's overall expenses jumped 30 percent since last year.

The red flag: A 152 percent jump in the "rent" category, from $64,000 dollars in 2011 to more than $161,000 in 2012.
"I'm asking how can that be the case, when nothing has really changed for that particular golf course?" said Ford. 

Ford said council members are under the impression Whitehaven Golf Course is in the red.
"If that number is inaccurate, then the Whitehaven Golf Course did not lose any money. It would have actually made money," he said

Golfers have also questioned how Whitehaven could lose so much money when its ballroom - that costs up to $2,000 dollars for five hours - is regularly rented out and booked through 2013.

Ford is asking for an audit, but the ball is now in the city's hands.

They're considering an external audit.

Four golf courses, including Whitehaven, are closed for the winter until they can sort this out.

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