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Prestigious Heritage Golf Club could go under over $12,000 in unpaid bills

Heritage Golf and Country Club. Greg Norman with Chris Evert at the Heritage Golf and Country Club in 2009. Photo: LUIS ENRIQUE ASCUI
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EXCLUSIVE

An exclusive, multi-million dollar golf club in Melbourne’s north-east could be wound up for failing to pay almost $12,000 in fees for maintenance work.

The Heritage Golf and Country Club in Chirnside Park is being sued in the Victorian Supreme Court by Diston Sewage Maintenance, which conducted routine maintenance of the club’s sewage system over six separate occasions, the first being in April last year.

It is the latest in a long list of controversies to plague the club in the past 12 months, including the sacking of staff, complaints of declining service and cleanliness.

There is also talk that American golf champion Jack Nicklaus will withdraw his endorsement of the club’s St John course over claims it has been neglected and badly managed.

The club was taken over by Xiaoyan (Kylie) Bao in 2014 as part of a separation agreement with her estranged husband, Chinese billionaire and investor Wang Hua.

In October last year Ms Bao angered Toorak residents by having an $18.5 million mansion in St George’s Road torn down after a failed heritage protection bid.

According to documents filed to the court, Diston Sewage Maintenance- which is seeking fees worth $11,449.50 over work done at the golf course  – claims that multiple efforts to have the invoices paid have come to nothing.

Director Ryan Diston told The Age that other people associated with the club advised him to sue, as that would be the only way he would get the money he says he’s owed.

He has sought for the club to be wound up and placed into liquidation.

“I won’t do any more work for them until they’ve paid me,” he said, adding that the club has continued to ask him to do work despite not paying invoices.

Mr Diston said his company had worked for the club for the past 15 years and that he had never had a problem with getting paid before Ms Bao took control.

“I’m at a stage were I don’t really want to work for them” Mr Diston said.

American Golfer Jack Nicklaus in 2002 on the Heritage course he designed. Photo: Robert Cianflone

The club was contacted several times for comment.

When facing similar threats of liquidation over an unpaid $9300 debt for painting work in March last year, Craig Binnie, a spokesman for Heritage’s management, said: “A $20 million business that has no debt is not about to go under over a relatively small bill”.

There have been mounting complaints levelled at the club, which has been considered one of Australia’s best golf clubs and which charges $3852 to members each year.

Complaints include what some members say are the club’s declining standards, maintenance and service, and rumours of golf brands removing their stock from the pro shop.

One member, who did want to be named, said many members believe the ultimate aim is to develop part of the site for housing.

He said up to 20 hectares on the south side of the club could become a site for hundreds of apartments or units.

“We’re losing members left, right and centre because of the state the club is in,” he said.

“The pro shop is a disgrace, there’s no stock in the member’s bar and no hand wash or toilet paper.

“Courses are starting to show wear and tear.”

The vast $20 million resort-style club is also in dispute with golf legend Jack Nicklaus over whether his company, Nicklaus Design, will continue to lend its name to one of the club’s courses over its “deep concerns” about the “current unacceptable conditions” were repeatedly ignored by management.

The company is concerned the state of the course is “negatively impacting the reputation of the Nicklaus name”.

The property has been at the centre of a swath of rocky ownership and financial issues in recent years, including being placed in receivership under different ownership. */]]>

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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