Lawsuit claims ‘self-dealing’ by Evanston-Wilmette Golf Course president

Joseph Diebold

A new lawsuit naming the president of the Evanston Wilmette Community Golf Course Association alleges the association conducted secret meetings with Northwestern “concerning the possible lease, sale or transfer of portions of the property.”

The 26-page suit was filed April 12 against President John LoSasso by John Richards and Gerald Murphy, who both sit on the association’s board of directors.

The heart of the suit is the contention that LoSasso and the association misused funds that should have gone to paying down the association’s debts. The association currently owes Evanston $14,000 and Wilmette $8,000 in connection with unpaid water bills. Eleven of the course’s 18 holes are in Evanston, while the other seven are in Wilmette.

Last year, the association asked the city of Evanston for financial assistance in paying down the bill. It told Evanston’s City Council that despite efforts at increasing revenue, it saw no way to pay down the debt.

The association argues their upkeep of the golf course land, much of which is owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, prevents the city of Evanston from having to maintain the land. In June, Evanston’s City Council voted to give the association extra time to acquire the funds.

LoSasso’s attorney, Wilbur Whamond, declined to comment Wednesday due to the pending legal proceedings, as did Richards and University spokesman Al Cubbage. LoSasso told Evanston Review last week the association’s three-member executive committee was reviewing the allegations.

“We consider it a frivolous suit and we will be responding,” LoSasso said. “We believe the persons making these allegations made absolutely no reasonable attempt to vet the information they have alleged.”

On Monday, Cook County Circuit Court judge Richard Billik Jr. instructed the two sides to engage in good faith negotiations to attempt to resolve the suit, according to the Evanston Review. Billik said the number of allegations could result in more than one court appearance, “depleting the resources of the defendants.” He gave the parties 28 days to resolve the case before it returns to court.

The lawsuit also accuses LoSasso of pushing for a massive renovation of the course’s 18 holes, pro shop and offices while also in debt to the two cities.

“While water bills owed to Evanston and Wilmette were months and years past due, (the president) championed an extravagant, expensive and unnecessary plan,” the lawsuit reads.

The suit also alleges numerous bad faith activities taken against the board of directors by LoSasso, including scheduling meetings without proper notification and then attempting to remove those directors, including Richards, whose attendance was poor.

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