The future of the Winter Garden golf course is unclear following the sale of the mortgage note.
Changes could be coming to the Stoneybrook West Golf Club following the sale of the mortgage note held on the property.
The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations records show that Steven Fusilier, an Orlando-based real-estate agent, purchased the note previously held by the Davis family earlier this month. According to the Stoneybrook West homeowners association, Miguel Vidal still holds the title to the property.
The Stoneybrook West Golf Club closed abruptly in December 2018. In January 2019, the HOA sent a letter of intent to the golf-course owners expressing interest in purchasing the club. The owners reportedly declined the letter because of interest in the property from other companies.
Vidal — who also owned Legends Golf and Country Club in Clermont — assumed ownership of the club last spring.
However, Vidal soon racked up code violations because of lack of maintenance for the golf course. Those violations included scattering of refuse and excessive growth of grass, weeds and brush.
In June 2019, Winter Garden’s Code Enforcement Board voted to cite Vidal a fine of $2,000 per day regarding these violations. Those fines continue to pile up today, said Winter Garden City Manager Mike Bollhoefer, currently totaling around $750,000. The city also has converted the fines into a lien on the property, he said.
“Their fines are still adding up, because they have not fixed the golf course,” Bollhoefer said.
Bollhoefer added the mortgage note is now delinquent, so Fusilier would have the right to foreclose on it. The city’s legal standpoint if a foreclosure occurs is that the outstanding fines would be passed along to whoever ends up foreclosing, he said.
“If they do foreclose on it — which is highly likely or they wouldn’t have bought it — they could foreclose on it and then they’d take over the golf course,” Bollhoefer said. “We’re stepping back now to see and determine if indeed the developer is going to foreclose and then own the golf course. We’re in a wait-and-see position right now.”
Although Vidal’s fines continue to add up and the mortgage note has changed hands, what’s next for the golf club is currently unknown. Fusilier confirmed he now owns the note and said details would come soon. Bollhoefer said no one has yet made an official proposal to the city.
The HOA has received no written communication from anyone regarding future plans for the golf course property. However, Board Vice President Dennis Armstrong said, the board still is interested in purchasing it so the community can have better control over what occurs with the property.
“There have been lots of ideas proposed, including golf, for the use of the property,” Armstrong said. “The current Board of Directors has taken the position that it is premature to discuss use of the property until we control/own it. If and when that occurs, the board will survey residents to determine what the majority of them believe is the best use for the property. The board will try and provide accurate costs for various options once those choices become clear.
“The (board) will be happy to meet with the new owners of the mortgage note and will work to facilitate presenting their ideas for use of the golf-course property to all of the residents of the community for their consideration,” Armstrong said.
Vidal did not respond to requests seeking comment for this story.