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Rancho Mirage Settlement Information

Rancho Mirage Country Club Agrees to Settlement with Ronald Richards and Oasis Ranch LLC

Many of us have been following the situations in other communities who have been forced to deal with the purchases of their golf courses by Ronald Richards, Michael Schlesinger and their investment group.  One of the properties is the Rancho Mirage Country Club (RMCC).  Below is a summary of what has occurred at this course.

Rancho Mirage Country Club was purchased in June 2015 by Oasis Ranch LLC.  The day after the sale the course closed and the employees were fired.  A fence was erected around the property, the water was shut off and the course began deteriorating.  Oasis Ranch began the process of proposing development of the golf course with high density housing.  The proposed development, course deterioration and expected loss in property values led to the RMCC HOA filing a $39,000,000 suit against Oasis Ranch.  One of our members, Pam Thurston, has a friend who lives in RMCC and has been able to obtain good information regarding their situation.  Last week the RMCC HOA and Oasis Ranch reached a settlement agreement and I will highlight the key points to the settlement in this post.

At the end of this post there is a video of the RMCC HOA meeting where the settlement was presented to the residents.  The video is lengthy (1:05) but I encourage you to view it when time permits.  I spoke with the HOA President and he also provided me with information not clear in the video.  Here are the key points to the settlement:

  • Excluding the homes and streets the property is approximately 105 acres
    The golf course itself is approximately 90 acres
  • The current Clubhouse area (5 to 6 acres) will be replaced by a luxury hotel
  • The current Maintenance Yard (4-5 acres)will be replaced with an assisted living facility
  • The Driving Range (4- 5 acres) will be replaced with limited housing (up to 50 units)
  • Following Oasis Ranch obtaining development entitlements for the hotel, care facility and housing, the HOA will have the option of either owning the golf course or selecting their designee to own the golf course.  The course will be deeded to the HOA by Oasis Ranch
  • The HOA will have the options to:
    • Own and run the course themselves
    • Sell the course to an outside party which more than likely would be the hotel
    • Own the course and lease the course operations to an outside party
  • Due to the cost involved in the filing of the suit all HOA members were assessed $98 dollars per month to cover the legal fees
    • This assessment has brought in approximately $200,000
    • In approximately one year the legal bill is already up to $400,000
    • The HOA was fortunate in that they secured a law firm which took the case on a contingency and the HOA did not have to front a significant retainer
    • Based on the settlement the law firm has agreed to settle the legal bill for the amount collected to date through the assessment
  • The HOA President validated my opinion that
    • The owners do not care about zoning
    • Their tactic is to make the community look poorly and wait out the process as long as it takes to receive a return on their investment
    • Given the situation the community was dealt the settlement is the best possible outcome for the RMCC residents
  • The HOA President agreed with me that the best possible solution is to attempt to work with the ownership as early as possible to prevent the deterioration of the property
  • Although the RMCC HOA does not have an exact figure as to the total cost to restore the property to golf course condition it is estimated to be a minimum of $1,000,000
  • Oasis Ranch has agreed to pay for 50% of the cost to restore the property

What does this mean to our Community?  Although none of like the hand we have been dealt we have to face the reality of where we are.  We are fortunate the course did not close in December following the purchase.  Once the course closes the deterioration will begin and as you can see above the cost to restore is outrageous.

In a previous post you saw the first rendition of a plan the ownership seeks for our community.  I am convinced the only way we can maintain anything near what we have today is to attempt to reach some sort of settlement with Tree City LLC prior to their closing the course.  In my dealings with Ronald Richards I only see the course closing sometime near December unless we can agree to some compromise.  At our meeting on September 22 we can discuss our options and I encourage all to attend.



Stay the Course


{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Jennifer September 14, 2016, 3:17 pm

    Before our community chooses to settle with these people and come to a compromise, do we know that they can even rezone the property? Is it not required that the property rezoned before they can build on it? What has the city said and are they willing to allow them to do this? I feel that more research is needed before we decide to settle and much of this information seems to be lacking.

    • Scott Holder September 14, 2016, 3:56 pm

      Yes it is required for a zoning change prior to any homes being built. We will discuss at the meeting on September 22.

      • Jen September 15, 2016, 1:35 pm

        why would we not fight to prevent rezoning ? If you open the door to them, you will never be able to stop them from building everywhere.

        • Mike September 16, 2016, 6:32 pm

          A settlement means there are specified terms of what can and cannot be done, as in the Rancho Mirage Settlement. That is how you control the outcome, it becomes a bi-lateral legally binding agreement stipulating what can and cannot be done.

          • Renae Wilber September 22, 2016, 9:39 pm

            We aren’t controlling any outcome if they build any homes, except to guarantee that our City will be affected far above and beyond the money it would cost (even if a million) to rebuild should they close it.

  • Admin September 14, 2016, 3:22 pm

    Name Victor Dummala
    E-mail fscm_sap@hotmail.com

    Phone Number
    Make comment public? Yes
    Questions or comments? Hi Scott,Looking at your email , you sound like Advocating everyone to fall in the Tree City LLC agenda of constructing home on the Golf course .

    I and lot of other people are not convinced that its the best option and my whole neighborhood is against any construction in the golf course even if they threaten to close. We can discuss in next meeting.

    I will make sure that we fight it tooth and nail in city meeting and if required in the court of law.

    • Renae Wilber September 22, 2016, 9:42 pm

      Thank you Victor. It appears to me ANY home building would be far more detrimental than allowing the golf course to sit there with a chain link fence and abandoned. I’m ok with that. I’m not ok with the burden building would put on our City. We can wait it out just as they can. We can’t go back in time if we build.

  • Mike September 14, 2016, 4:35 pm

    Agreed. We don’t have many cards to play, but building along Alocasta and save the golf course sounds like a reasonable middle ground. But it is a 3 party deal, and the City has to be on board. Compromise is the only solution, we have no legal case to stop deterioration. Its their course. Face the facts residents.

  • Scott Holder September 15, 2016, 3:57 pm

    I need to make a correction to the last bullet point in my post. Oasis Ranch agreed to pay 50% of the cost to restore back to a “park like setting” not to restore back to golf course condition.

  • Ted September 15, 2016, 6:24 pm

    So I’m a bit confused why would we compromise? Is the land along Alcosta already zoned for something other than a golf course?

    Also, if the the owners close the course why would the expense fall on the community to put it “back to park like conditions”. The owners should be held responsible for the up keep of their property just like any other property owner in San Ramon. If they don’t fines should be levied and when the fines aren’t paid property should be foreclosed.

    Compromise is not an option and we should never allow a developer to use terror tactics to bend a community to their will.

    If we compromise, we lose as do our children and the future family of San Ramon. Our schools are already over crowded as are our street and highways. All of us have experience the chaos that is our schools at drop off and pick up times or commuted on 680.

    How does building another 400+ units benefit our community or ease that pain.

    Compromise is not the solution and we need to make that clear to our elected officials.

    If they are unwilling or unable to represent what’s in our communities best interests then they need to be replaced.

    I thought “Stay the course” meant just that not “Fold when things get difficult.”

    See you all Wednesday night.


    • Mike September 16, 2016, 6:29 pm

      “Stay the Course” becomes “Stay the Field” after December unless a compromise is reached. Drawing lines in the sand gets you a messy field, unimproved. Compromise is wide open, it has the ability to becomes win-win, not lose-win or lose-lose. There are solutions to the problems you envision with build-out. It becomes part of the dance. If we don’t signal an inclination to work something out the golf course goes DARK after December. The City has to get on board with working out a solution that represents our interest, yes, but our interests have to have something in it for the other side, plain and simple. And those who think we fight this in court, let me ask you: when is the last time you were in court? Its expensive! There is no free lunch, who is going to cover the legal expenses? Just keep an open mind, there are always ways to find compromise that satisfy all parties.

      • Joe Norton September 24, 2016, 8:45 pm

        Excuse me, but what the hell are you talking about in regards to “…last time you were in Court? It’s expensive!” ? We aren’t going to Court! We aren’t doing anything wrong. And we certainly aren’t trying to change any zoning,or General Plans! HE IS!!! He can go to Court. We are just going to demand our City Council do what they are supposed to, and that is protect that damn General Plan!! This is a no brainer. He’s trying to draw us into a fight, or into negotiations. We don’t have to partake of either!

        • Renae Wilber September 24, 2016, 9:27 pm

          I’m sure there are plenty of insiders like “Mike” trying to use scare tactics. So, basically, the bully is on the playground and has bullied others into giving up their lunch, and now Mike is urging us just to give up our sandwiches so we don’t lose our lunch to the bully. Your tactics are simplistic and transparent Mike. We aren’t giving up our lunch, or our sandwich.

          • Mike September 25, 2016, 5:56 pm

            I am not an insider, I am just a concerned S San Ramon resident like you who has a different opinion, and don’t appreciate the conspiracy theory and name calling and cursing, lets keep this board civil.

    • Jennifer September 23, 2016, 7:06 pm

      100% agree Ted.

  • Denise September 17, 2016, 6:16 pm

    Wait! What are we compromising on? Have I missed something here???? The owners bought a golf course that was only zoned for a golf course or open space, and that is what they have. Unless I am mistaken, the owners have not sent anything to the city of San Ramon asking it to be zoned as anything else. The City council and planning commission of San Ramon are the only ones who have the authority to overturn the San Ramon voter approved general plan that marked this land to remain open space (as it always has been). The only thing that was sent out was an unofficial sketch with no reference to who sent it out, for all I know it could have been created and sent by someone from this group trying to cause a city panic and push for a compromise before the golf course is closed. I am sure the owners are sitting back laughing because let’s face it; we are doing their job for them. We are trying to negotiate with the city on their behalf. We are trying to push the city to comprise, but compromise on what??? There is nothing to compromise on. The owners have not made a formal proposal to this group or the city of San Ramon. Unless the owners approach the city themselves, we have no idea what their plan is. I know this is a horrible situation, for those who live in south San Ramon, but I believe compromise has such bigger implications to all of San Ramon. There is still a lot of open space within our city that can be built on folks. Compromise would be the equivalent of putting out a welcome mat to welcome unscrupulous investors into our city. Stay the Course people; until we have an official plan, we do not even know what they want us to negotiate on.

    • Mike September 18, 2016, 5:51 pm

      We need to consider what we are willing to give up (e.g. Allow for partial rezoning to let them build along Alcosta) in order to incentivize the owner to commit to keep the golf course maintained or sell it to another investor (e.g. Private investor, City of San Ramon) BEFORE they let it go fallow in December. Once it goes fallow then a huge cost burden arrises to return it to somethimg nice which becomes another cost burden on the eventual owner-which we should try and avoid. Compromise by nature is not problematic, scaring people that it is by your suggestion of negative implications is premature, and if your not from South San Ramon you have very little at stake!

    • Jennifer September 23, 2016, 7:16 pm

      I agree Denise. What Kind of a fool enters in a negotiation and without any contract in front of them??

      • donald corbin September 23, 2016, 7:29 pm

        i have a house on one of the fairway worth 1,000,000 this joker bought a whole golf coarse for the price of 8 houses do youreally think he bought it for the golf coarse ? dont ever let this a hole build

      • Renae Wilber September 23, 2016, 8:19 pm

        …or entertains the thought of negotiation when it is not necessary.

  • donald corbin September 18, 2016, 11:30 am

    time to find out if the city of san ramon has any b lls

  • eleezeh September 19, 2016, 8:07 pm

    Before we cave in and give this beautiful community to a developer from Southern California who has no clue what a community is lets make sure we do not forget why we all moved to this area. It was because of the schools, quite community and serenity of this place. To take this golf course and build townhomes where single-family homes exist is Ludacris. Not to mention destroying the reason most of us bought our house around this course. The beautiful and peaceful view, the Canadian geese, ducks and anything that would erase a hard day at work, why should we give this up because an obnoxious SoCal developer decided he can make money using this community. If he wanted to develop another community there is other lands around here that he could have bought and build houses on. Please research and see other cases of developers destroying golf courses, and the facts that the judgments were for the homeowners, for the purpose of devaluation of their houses. This golf course is making money I live on it and I see it daily. This guy has no reason to say he is not making money from this course. He has no financial pain from buying this course. The financial pain will be for us when a 2 story town home is built in front of our houses blocking the view we have, and destroying the 7% prime rate these house have over any other house in this area. On top of that it will turn Alcosta into a mad house of cars, over burden the schools. Also what prevents this developer from building the other parts of this golf course, he is hungry for money and should not be trusted. We should not give in and fight as hard as we can and show him what a close community San Ramon is.

  • Michelle Podany September 19, 2016, 8:55 pm

    I’m traveling on business Thursday and won’t be at the meeting. I think negotiating now, when we don’t know the true proposal, sets a tone that homeowners are willing to rezone. Unless some of you have been working a deal for your own gain.

    The drawings floating about show high density housing right in front of my street, obliterating my view. It encroaches on the creek and the wildlife there. It takes away the driving range, club house and several holes. How will the golf course continue to operate profitably after that? You trust that you can get the owner to maintain that “open space” that you have preserved for yourselves in all this? They will eventually say they can’t afford that either.

  • Laura September 20, 2016, 4:53 am

    It is a horrible situation. I think the question is: if you want to fight these new owners and prevent building on the golf course are you willing to pay money to fight it through a lawsuit? If you win, they will appeal and if you win in the Appellate Court, he will take it to the Supreme court. This will cost thousands of dollars. And, if the new owners win they may demand you pay all their legal fees on top of your own. Are you ready to come up with the money to fight this. In the mean time, they probably will let the golf course deteriorate, which will be a depressing view for all those living on the golf course. How much can the city do to prevent this?
    Probably not much.

    I don’t want to see more building in San Ramon. I live on the Iron Horse Trail down from the golf course. I want to see it remain the golf course, but unless people are willing to pay to fight, possibly lose then pay the new owners legal fees and costs plus the cost to fight this the alternatives are not the best.

    There are some serious considerations to make before making the decision on the best way to handle this horrible situation. I hate to see what these new owners are doing to us and other people with their many purchases of golf courses just to build on them, but fighting could cost a lot of money. Is everyone willing to pay???

    • Denise September 21, 2016, 11:26 am

      Again back to my original post, what are we negotiating on?? Nothing has been officially submitted there for there is nothing to negotiate. To negotiate without anything to negotiate with is speculation. To speculate what the owner will do at this point is pointless. To think this is only an issue for those who live on or near the gold course is naive and just plain wrong. This will have a ripple effect for not only San Ramon, but the entire Tri-Valley region; We share our water with Dublin, our school district with Danville, etc. There are much bigger issues to the City and all of San Ramon. I think it is a much bigger issue for all communities in California and across the US. What compromise before anything is shown. We will open Pandora’s box. Then they know we are open to building and will just come back with their official starting plan which is building on every single piece of open space that they can. They will have the upper hand in negotiations too because they already know we have given in to the one thing that gives the City of San Ramon the advantage, the current zoning.

      • Eleezeh September 22, 2016, 4:38 pm

        I agree with Denis nothing is has been submitted to the city. The city has not see plans and some of the city councilmen are against any rezoning. If we do not allow the rezone all the developer can do is close the gates. This are is not zoned for residential. If the read the article in EastBay times you will hear what som of our councilmen are saying. So let’s not panic on wha the owners will do. Let’s focus on our coommunity and make sure as a community we stand strong. Not only for ourselves but our kids, our schools and our neighbors.

      • mike September 22, 2016, 6:37 pm

        We are being realists! Ripple effect, are you kidding? The City has allowed all this expansion into our open space in Dougherty Valley and youre worried about a small piece of property along Alcosta Blvd? Its not fair of you to ask us S San Ramon residents to stand up in front of the train wreck that is about to happen in our neighborhood when they shut down the golf course because of some grand altruistic ideas. Take your position to the City when the announce the next expansion of the City development line. This isn’t your fight. We are in this to find common ground and be proactive, not reactive, to get the best result possible for S San Ramon residents. We are fighting to keep the golf course open, that is our primary objective, and to preserve our neighborhood. Stay the Golf Course! We could come up with an offer to allow some development and extract taxes and fees for improving /expanding the schools, roads, parks, utilities, infrastructure, etc. We need to be proactive and put together a plan, not sit around and do nothing.

        • eleezeh September 22, 2016, 7:12 pm

          Have you thought about what happens if the 255 houses and the apartments turn into rentals and low income housing. A small piece of Alcosta you say! That small piece will be come 2 story or 3 story town homes with each town home probably housing 4-5 members, you know what that would do to the traffic around here not to mention how crowded this small area would be. The housing that happened at Dougherty Valley was in a real open space of land with no prior housing. No one came and tried to plant houses in the middle a of an existing community. Our backyards will become someone elses parking lot. There is big difference in what was developed at Dougherty Valley and what this developer is doing here. Also we are naive if we think once he builds these houses he is not going to take advantage of the rest of the golf course. This will be a train wreck if we let it.

        • Renae Wilber September 25, 2016, 6:22 pm

          Mike, Do you really think this unnecessary negotiation you are asking for is for nothing more than “a small piece of property along Alcosta?” Do you know that the cardinal rule of negotiation is not to negotiate against oneself? Are you aware we do not have to negotiate? Is having open land over building on the golf course your idea of a train wreck? Do you really think this is only a “S San Ramon” concern?? When you say “This isn’t your fight” to whom are you addressing? Please clarify. And “proactive” does not mean giving away our lunch to the school bully, before he even asks for it. Proactive means recognizing that we have the power and until and unless the zoning is voted in favor of building, we don’t have to do a dang thing.

  • Marty September 22, 2016, 10:34 pm

    The developer is under no obligation to negotiate with residents, and presenting a “joint” plan to the City Council and Planning Commission will only help the developer’s case. The community’s priority should be to reach out to the City Council and Planning Commission to ensure that a zoning change and/or plan amendment will never be granted to the developer.

    While I’ll miss $19.00 twilight rates, we’re not talking about Augusta National here. The course will heal and become our savanna – and the world’s largest dog park.

    • Renae Wilber September 23, 2016, 9:39 am

      Sheesh, lawsuits? Negotiating? If there is one thing I learned from civil litigation lawyers over the years, it is to never negotiate against yourself. There is nothing to negotiate here, so why are we even considering this? The land is not zoned for building. Period. Lawsuits? Who is suing us? For what? What are the damages? Why are we suing them? All this fear based posturing to persuade others to give up the very reason we bought homes in San Ramon is preposterous. The developer can sue away, for what damages? There is nothing to defend. We have no reason to sue. So it becomes a place where people let their dogs run. Better than being a coward. We wouldn’t negotiate the rights to our front yard, our driveway, our home, so why on earth would we even consider negotiating our golf course? Do not allow those who succumb to their own fears to ruin our community. That property is not zoned for building just as our front yards are not zoned for other people to park on. Period.

      • Eleezeh September 23, 2016, 10:06 am

        100% agree with Renae. There is nothing to get sued over. There is no case to sue or go to court. The developer bought a golf course zoned for open space and ag/golf course not for building. They knew knowingly that rezoning had to happen before they could build. They took that risk. They have no means of sueing us. Last night there were few people who were trying to intimidate home owners and scaring people about lawsuits. I suggest if anyone has doubts to look at past cases and see that if an area is zoned for none residential the law is with the home owners especially if the changes will effect housing prices, quality of life and etc. Please those of you who want to keep the course open at the price of building houses in our back yards think twice. This owner if permitted will build the entire course, greed has no end. Those of you who wanted to negotiate last night and some of you where not even from this community join the majority voice and don’t be out numbered. Negotiating and rezoning should not be an option.

  • Thomas F. Mullican September 23, 2016, 4:46 pm

    FYI – PLEASE READ Rancho Mirage Settlement Information and then view the video of the RMCC – HOA meeting where the settlement is presented and discussed. This is a MUST for understanding our situation.
    Secondly, we have NO HOA to assess fees to bring in large amounts of needed cash.
    Third, until you become knowledgeable about the Rancho Mirage case and settlement, you cannot properly understand our Stay the Course circumstances.

    • Renae Wilber September 23, 2016, 7:27 pm

      So, at this point any offers of negotiation would only be negotiating against ourselves. We are not Rancho Mirage, nor is our situation identical. So, we are going to assume because Rancho Mirage settled that we have to? We also do not need to have large sums of money for anything. Scare tactics that are without any basis in reality for our golf course are nothing but that. We are not Rancho Mirage. The sky is not falling. We have nothing to negotiate over. Why are we assuming the role of victim when we have control of the course and the zoning?

  • Jennifer September 23, 2016, 7:08 pm

    Negotiating is not the answer here. You do not represent me nor my interests if you choose to negotiate without any idea of what they plan to do, nothing submitted to the city, and well knowing that they are not an ethical

    • Renae Wilber September 23, 2016, 7:29 pm

      You are absolutely correct Jennifer. Just a small group of people willing to role over and allow developers to build at the expense of a heck of a lot more to our City than letting the land be vacant and the course be closed.

  • Eleezeh September 23, 2016, 7:39 pm

    I agree with both of you. I decided to stay in San Ramon and remodeled my house and the backyard so I can enjoy the beauty of this place. Today it took me 15 minutes to get from San Ramon valley to my house on Olympia fields, 5 years ago this route would have taken 5 minutes. If this disaster happens and they build house not only we loose our view but it will take us more than 15 minutes to go 3-4 stop lights. The people who want to negotiate must not understand the facts of life. Also last night it was mentioned and 25% of this housing will go to low income housing. What will this do to our neighborhoods and schools.

  • Pat Spilotro August 4, 2019, 11:41 am

    Hi Folks,
    So almost three years later, what did we learn?

    I learned that if you make a ‘deal’ with liars and carpetbaggers, you get lied to and you lose. They lie and steal, but they want you to ‘trust them’ and make a deal with them. I don’t make deals with devil and then expect him to honor his part of the bargain, that would make me stupid, naïve and gullible.

    I was born at night, but NOT LAST NIGHT.

    Rancho Mirage made a deal, almost 3 years ago, and what has been done so far?
    No GOLF, no ‘amenities, not even any shovels in the dirt, and the HOA is still paying dues to water the grass? Really?

    When does the two years of construction and crap start, let alone get completed? What happens to these ‘deals’ in another downturn?

    Sorry, but MANY of the older folks and others who agreed to the deal will be either dead of old age, or have moved out of the hood by the time they even get started. That’s also when the new owners come back to renegotiate, again! This time for a second, third or even fourth bite at the apple. The Homeowner’s apple.

    They will get sliced, diced and screwed … and with NO guarantee ANY of the future ‘promises’ they were made … especially once Schlesinger and Richards have their money and are gone … then what?

    ANY hiccup in the economy, and these ‘deals’ will all go in the trash due to ‘changed circumstances’ – but it will be too late for RM by then. These folks should never have drunk the KoolAid … sorry.

    This is a GREAT POST, and EVERYONE should watch this SAD video again! You will hear the same BS, the same SPIN, and the SAME LIES when they bring this ‘circus’ to your town. Check the facts, use your 2020 hindsight … make your own conclusions.

    Pat S – Saving Silverstone Ranch

    P.S. Don’t make deals with scum and liars. It’s been almost TEN YEARS since they started this ‘circus’, and of the over a DOZEN golf courses MS/RR are attacking – still NO redevelopment has actually happened yet…
    not at the first one Escondido,
    not Stoneridge Poway,
    not Rancho Mirage,
    not Silverstone,
    and NOT San Ramon …
    and Fallbrook is safe as a winery.

    They are NOT winning folks …
    unless you let them, like the RM HOA did …
    How did that work out so far?

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