Reynolds Plantation club members rejected a proposal to buy the money-losing golf courses, clubhouses and other key amenities from its developer for $45 million.
The proposal had faced stiff opposition from a vocal group of Reynolds members who felt the deal was unfair. Nearly 80 percent of votes cast Friday were against the deal.
The decision leaves in doubt the future owners of the championship links at the tony Lake Oconee enclave, 70 minutes east of Atlanta.
Control of the amenities at Reynolds Plantation as well as the Great Waters and Landing communities could be taken back by a consortium of banks led by Bank of America, unless Linger Longer Development Co. can arrange a deal with another potential buyer.
Mercer Reynolds, chairman of Linger Longer, said in a letter Saturday to property owners he was disappointed in the outcome, but the firm “will be exploring a number of options in the days ahead, and [is] focused on finding a new alternative that works for us and for our lenders.”
Reynolds officials have said a golf company had previously offered to buy them.
Still, it’s another blow to luxury golf communities in Georgia, following last year’s bankruptcy and sale of Sea Island and the foreclosure of Country Club of the South’s golf course. The Reynolds communities are among the state’s most prestigious.
A group of club members opposed the deal, many claiming on blogs that Reynolds wasn’t negotiating in good faith and that the deal exposed members to too much financial risk. They also complained the facilities were vastly overpriced.
In February, Reynolds, a noted businessman, Republican Party fixture and former ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, asked the nearly 3,600 property owners to buy the amenities, including six golf courses. The banks were demanding payment of $45 million by the end of April.
Reynolds and his cousin Jamie also pledged to the banks $60 million in land as additional collateral.
The developer assembled a committee of property owners to negotiate with Linger Longer and the banks to buy facilities. That committee was rocked early on by resignations by some members who raised financial and legal objections.
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