The struggling Gaillardia Golf and Country Club has been placed into receivership at the behest of its creditors.
Oklahoma County District Court Judge Patricia Parrish moved to appoint Ford Price, managing partner of the Oklahoma City real estate firm Price Edwards & Co., as receiver for the exclusive country club on Thursday afternoon.
One of Gaillardia's founding members, Oklahoma City oilman Art Swanson, has also filed papers with the court to intervene in the ongoing foreclosure proceedings against the club's owner on behalf of other members.
Swanson, who was one of about 50 founding members of Gaillardia, said he wants to make sure that the interests of other club members are represented in the foreclosure action.
Swanson and other members supported placing Gaillardia in receivership in hopes of restoring it to its former glory, he said.
“We have been very frustrated with what the current owner has not done,” he said. “I think what occurred is that the owner was just not able to fulfill his obligations — the club has really sailed the past few months on the efforts and work ethics of the staff alone.”
While the country club's $20-million clubhouse has a few leaks in the roof that need to be repaired, the maintenance issues are relatively minor, and there are already parties who have expressed interest in buying the property, Price said in an interview Friday.
“I expect a very smooth transition going forward. It's a wonderful asset and I suspect that there will by any number of people who will be interested in buying it,” he said.
In a letter to members, Price reassured that all of Gaillardia's facilities would remain open and fully staffed.
First Liberty Bank has offered the country club a short-term loan to help with operating costs.
“There is no denying the club has been facing financial difficulties for some time,” Price said in the letter. “I will have access to additional funds through First Liberty Bank to deal with club operations on a go-forward basis and have every reason to believe these funds will be adequate to properly operate the club in a first-class manner throughout the duration of the receivership.”
Price said Friday that he had already received nearly 100 emails and phone calls offering words of encouragement and support for him taking control of the country club.
First Liberty Bank and Bank of the Ozarks have both moved to foreclose on Gaillardia in recent weeks for defaulted mortgages on the country club.
Gaillardia's owner, the Little Rock-based private equity firm Herrington, Inc. led by CEO Phil Herrington, has owned Gaillardia since 2002.
A call to Herrington's office was not returned on Friday.