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Little Parks Things Add Up To Big Parks Things

March 28th, 2012 by jake · 24 Comments

We’ve obviously been poking around Metro Parks lately.

And what have we discovered today?

Some fancy Marty Storch stuff from a local sports blog. Seems the assistant parks director is… well… you’ll see.

In an interview about a new first (golf) hole at Seneca, Storch claimed 12 large oak trees were moved to line the left side of the new first fairway:

“The first tee is farther from the road than it used to be. We’ve moved 12 large oak trees to line the left side of the fairway to catch road-bound shots. We plan to move more trees for more protection. And we also plan to put in a horse fence to define out-of-bounds.”

Unfortunately for Storch, no large oak tree was ever moved. And since that hole has been open? Dozens of people have been hit while walking on that path, according to Parks employees.

Seems Storch also lost his shiz a few weeks ago when we suggested he was helping his friend and golf pro Kevin Greenwell out with your taxpayer dollars. And guess what we found?

Don’t think the reconstruction at Seneca is solely facilitated by a need to make the course safer and more playable. Marty Storch said there was also “an excellent chance to increase revenue at the Park’s most played golf course every year.” That reconstruction will also include an expanded and relocated practice facility.

Seneca draws more players annually than any other Metro Parks course. However, the driving range currently faces three major problems that cut into range ball sales.

For one, the range is 400 yards from the clubhouse. Most players, despite their overblown aspirations to emulate their favorite T.V. pro, will not walk that far as part of their warm-up routine.

Secondly, the range is about as big as a U.S. Open fairway. It’s a problem for the Parks Course that hosts so many tournaments because of its central location. Currently flanked by the tenth and fourteenth holes, the range can’t accommodate more than ten players at a time.

Finally, Three-time Kentucky Section PGA Teaching Professional of the Year and Seneca Head Golf Professional Kevin Greenwell needs a practice facility on par with his nationally recognized teaching ability. Tucking Greenwell’s lessons 400 yards from the clubhouse is like displaying a billboard in the woods without an expressway in sight.

Greenwell said, “With a more inviting range, in a higher profile location, we could increase our driving range profits.” The changes to the practice facility have many local tournament coordinators excited.

What was that again, Marty, about not taking care of your friend, Kevin?

That bit about Parks reaping tons of revenue? We’ve discussed this in the past but Greenwell makes anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per week selling range balls in the summer months. Parks maybe pulls in ten percent and Greenwell pockets the rest. That driving range was built for his own personal benefit.

It’s as if Storch thinks conflict of interest – or the perception of such – is no big deal with tax dollars. Like that time he, sitting on the Kentucky Derby Festival board of directors, thought moving the million dollar hone-in-one qualifying contest from the Water Tower to Seneca wouldn’t raise eyebrows.

And people wonder why the Metro Parks whistleblower scandal is a hotter mess than it appears to be on the surface.

Tags: Metro Government · Oops · Parks

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Thomas // Mar 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I’m curious since the derby festival hole in one contest is at Seneca. how do they do the sales in the tent ?. does the golf pro get a portion of anything sold ? from what I remember beer was sold at the water tower. how does the liquor license work in this case? is there some kind of rental fee paid by the derby festival to parks for using the land?. several other courses have driving ranges Shawnee has a nice driving range what about the people in the west end ? is the derby festival hole in one contest going to move every year to make it fair to the pro’s at other courses.

  • 2 Wdhv // Mar 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Storch is quoted as saying

    “We just got our zoysia seeds in from an Arkansas farm last week and
    are going to plant them this week.”

    I quit playing at Seneca because of this golf hole. I was tired of my personal golf cart getting beat to death. the first hole was sodded in strips that were like speed bumps. I don’t remember any seeding. if any seeding was done it was a waste of money. if anyone thinks that hole is safer they are crazy. they added a walking path to the left and there isn’t one single sign letting pedestrians know to beware of golf balls. I started playing Charlie Vettiner but their cart paths were also beating my golf cart up. they should have repaired the paths with the money that was used on a new clubhouse. I sold the golf cart and joined a family friendly country club and couldn’t be happier

  • 3 Metrohack // Mar 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    First off, i’ve never noticed the driving range there, so it must be a long way off, 2nd a 10 person range is way to small for the busiest public course, and finally. You are totally correct. They do to many favor’s for the Pros. My solution, remove all the Pro’s from the course and put in a $50k a year manager to rent carts and sell hot dogs, and put the profits back into the courses.

  • 4 Wdhv // Mar 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I agree with the above statement. the city has been allowing these guys to get rich for years. a manager for the golf shops would make more sense. but first you must get rid of the corruption in parks. I happen to like a few of the pros. but some aren’t very friendly. people should feel welcomed when they walk in the door. instead you are treated like cattle especially at Seneca they take your money and then rush you around. I’m so glad I joined a country club where my family and I are treated well. we have a great pro. as well as a course that gets the proper attention

  • 5 Debbie // Mar 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Jake, is there anyway that you could list the pros at the public courses and their salaries? and other perks? I would like to compare their names against the political donors lists. Are they Metro employees with a full benefit package? I am so sick of seeing corruption and greed in public service. I think Fischer is getting right up there with Wallace Wilkinson.

  • 6 jtt // Mar 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I can’t post the link, but it is easy to find the list, just google Metro Louisville and parks and golf courses. My understanding is that they are all Metro employees.

  • 7 DD // Mar 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Debbie

    The pros are independent contractors. their salaries are based on cart, golf lesson, soft goods and concession sales. their salaries vary depending on the golf course they are at. the city gets to keep 100% of the green fee sales as well as a percentage of the pro’s concession profits. if I’m not mistaken the pro keeps 100% of his private lesson and soft good money. the pro does not have to pay rent or utility’s on the shop he/she occupies but I believe it is in their contracts to pay the property tax on the building. as well as any security/alarm services. they are responsible for paying the insurance and upkeep on the carts as well as the salaries and workers comp on their employee’s. some pros have a range and spend most of their day giving lessons that vary from $30-$45 for 30-45 minutes. so you take a guy like Kevin Greenwell who is the pro at Seneca the busiest golf course in town. he spends little time in his golf shop and most of his time teaching. so his hourly salary is about $90 an hour plus his cart rental and concession percentage.this is not the norm for all the metro golf pros. Kevin Greenwell was a contributor to mayor Fischer’s campaign.

  • 8 DD // Mar 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    jtt they are independent contractors

  • 9 Nate T // Mar 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Jake, thanks for having the courage to uncover this stuff and bring it to the surface. You’re doing this community a big service and the more this crap comes out – the better. You’re a reason why Louisville can have nice things!

  • 10 DD // Mar 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Debbie
    Not only was Kevin Greenwell a contributor to the campaign of Mayor Greg Fischer he employees the son of former mayor Jerry Abramson as a seasonal golf shop worker.

  • 11 Debbie // Mar 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Jt & DD, If they are independant contrators who are they under contract with? Metro Parks? This should be a public document. Aren’t we subsidizing a private business with public monies. He doesn’t pay rent and utilities, he doesn’t pay property tax on the building since they aren’t the owners. They have their own private employees on site which they pay benefit packages on I would love if adam Edelin did a state audit on metro parks and the situation with the golf pros. What is the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation and where does it get its funding/ who is in an oversight position of those funds? Who gets the commission from all snacks, beverage and vending machines? I would love to see their contracts.

  • 12 Debbie // Mar 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Jake, I also have gotten some volunteers to start going to KT’s to check on the reported continued alcohol abuse by mike heitz driving a parks car. I will keep you posted with pictures and footage as I receive it.

  • 13 DD // Mar 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    The word on the street is the audit of Metro Parks will be performed by Sadiqa Reynolds . that is the rumor as of now.

  • 14 DD // Mar 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Debbie their contract should be with Metro Parks/City of Louisville. I’m sure its public information.

  • 15 DD // Mar 28, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Metro web site says “Golf courses are self-sufficient, and operate without tax dollars”.

  • 16 jake // Mar 28, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    HAHAHA. Sadiqa auditing Parks. HAHAHAHAHA.

    God.

    Hahahahaha.

  • 17 DD // Mar 28, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Not sure when the golf courses became self-sufficient. the money used to go into a general fund. that’s interesting I would love to see the numbers

  • 18 HaAl // Mar 29, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I sold beer at a parks golf course when I was a 17 year old high school student .

  • 19 JTT // Mar 29, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I’ll take your work on them being contractors, but I expect somewhere in there, they get benefits, though, maybe as part of their contract? Question is, who supervises them? And are they supervising city employees? I assume the FT/PT workers are supervised by them? How can a non-city employee supervise a city employee?

  • 20 DD // Mar 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I don’t think they receive any insurance benefits from the city. pros are supervised by the golf director. as far as the pros supervising city employees, one or two seem to think they have a say so in what the city workers do. especially Greenwell he tends to think he can dictate what and when his city employed greenskeeper can do things. most of his decisions are based on money such as what time golfers can start play. when the course should be closed. each course has a greenskeeper who is a city employee his responsibility is to take care of the course. the responsibility of the golf professional is to take care of day to day operation of the golf shop. most city greenskeepers and golf pros have a great working relationship. a few don’t

  • 21 DD // Mar 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Debbie
    I might have been misinformed on the property tax being paid by the pros. insurance on the building may be what my source was referring to. I will check into it. apparently there is no longer a golf director that title has been changed to turf manager.

  • 22 Debbie // Mar 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I’ve been doing a little research myself after reading all of this. If Nancy Ray has any influence on the supervisors etc for her son (that weirdo you tube kid…a real wannabee…the kids in Chicago would eat his lunch and he would be screaming like a little girl to his momma) than that is a direct violation of the ethics ordinance.
    Has no one looked into how much of our (public) money is going out the window into the pockets of all these people? Jake could you do a open records request and see what is in that weirdo kids personnel file, there will be two of them, the one in Frankfort and the one they keep hear locally. I would do it but It would freak everyone out maybe later.

  • 23 Lrry // Mar 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Yes Nancy Ray would have some influence over anyone who supervise her son. Nancy Ray would also have influence in any discipline action. example 2 mowers caught on fire. her son was using one of them and didn’t receive the same disciplinary action as the other employee.

  • 24 Urkidding // Apr 6, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Marty Storch using his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself members of his family or other persons. sounds like a clear ethics violation.

    21.02 Standards of conduct

    (B) No official should use his position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself/herself members of his/her family or other persons

    Lets do the Math. an estimated guess. the driving range at Seneca makes between $35.000 – $40.000 a year. The parks dept receives say 10% $3.500 – $4.000 in that year.

    Kevin Greenwell being the other persons as stated above. makes a nice profit minus paying a staff and buying range balls. more than most average people make in a year.

    I’m an advocate of having driving ranges at any metro golf course. granted there is the land available. what I’m not a fan of is allowing a golf professional to receive a substantial pay raise at the expense of the public and the golf course. Its clearly not fair to any professional who resides at a course that doesn’t have a driving range. its not fair to the public that the parks dept only receives 10% of the range profits. this scale should be reversed. Mr Greenwell and any other professional that has a range should only receive 10%. of the yearly profit. allowing more money to be put back into the courses. and not into the bank account of Kevin Greenwell or any other professional.

    There is no doubt in my mind and the minds of many others that range was built for the advantage of Kevin Greenwell, not for the advantage of revenue as quoted by Mr. Storch “there was also an excellent chance to increase revenue at the parks most played golf course” $3.500-$4.000 isn’t much revenue when compared to what the parks would receive if the scale was reversed.

    I have known of Marty Storch for years and In my opinion I would describe him as a snake oil salesman. I’m glad to see someone writing about this. and I would love to see some records on the approval and construction plus cost involved in the so called improvements at Seneca. I have asked Marty myself but I never get the same answer twice. It also my opinion the parks dept as a whole should be the focus of an investigation.

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