Monday, October 15, 2007

MPERS to sell 2 golf courses

The Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System is getting out of the golf course business, but not before possibly spending another $1 million on them.

At a recent meeting in New Orleans, trustees for the Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System, or MPERS, took the first step toward putting its two ailing north Louisiana courses up for sale.

But trustees also set aside $1 million to make the Golf Club at StoneBridge in Bossier City and Olde Oaks Golf Club in Haughton more marketable — a process one of them likened to putting “some lipstick on the pig.”

Trustees revealed an audit they will receive Wednesday likely will indicate the two courses are $500,000 in the hole this year and have been paying operating expenses with lines of credit. Several trustees also complained about not knowing enough about where money is being spent, as well as poor club management.

The fate of the golf courses has ramifications for 10,000 Louisiana law-enforcement employees and cities across the state that pay 13.75 percent of their payrolls to the pension fund. MPERS still has a $279 million shortfall in the amount of money it needs to pay all the benefits of its retirees.

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