The Little Rock-based private equity and development firm Herrington Inc., controlled by businessman Phil Herrington, has owned Gaillardia since 2002, when it purchase the property from a subsidiary of the Oklahoma Publishing Company for $9.1 million.
The foreclosure comes after weeks of rumors about the club’s future among its membership. In a letter to members earlier this week, Herringtion announced that Gaillardia would cancel its annual Le Concours tournament scheduled for next week.
“We are working on all of the issues at the club with the only goal being the long-term financial health of Gaillardia as a club and as a community,” Herrington said in a letter to members announcing the tournament had been scrapped.
In a statement to The Oklahoman obtained before the foreclosure action was announced, Herrington denied rumors that Gaillardia was experiencing financial difficulties or was for sale.
“Herrington Inc. has owned Gaillardia Country Club for the past 10 years and is proud of our association with the club and the community,” Herrington said in the statement. “During that time we have invested millions of dollars into the club and will continue to invest into the future. The short answer is that the club is not for sale nor do we have any plans to file for bankruptcy.”
Attempts to reach Herrington after the foreclosure action was filed on Friday were unsuccessful.
In a letter to club members, owner Phil Herrington said he was shocked by First Liberty’s actions, although he conceded “there are issues that need to be addressed at the Club.”
“We are working 18-20 hours a day with responsible members of the Oklahoma City community, some of whom are Gaillardia members, to address them,” Herrington wrote.
“We are working on our response to the suit this weekend and hope to minimize its impact on the Club’s members and the Gaillardia brand in the community,” he wrote.