Terrence McManus, the 54-year-old owner of Flagler Golf Management who’s been running Flagler Beach’s nine-hole Ocean Palms Golf Course for the past few years, turned himself in at the Flagler County jail today on charges of insurance fraud and making a false police report. McManus immediately posted bail on $10,000 bond and was released.
The golf course at the south end of town is owned by Flagler Beach government and leased to McManus. The relationship between the city and McManus has been rocky almost from the start, but had mended in the past year or so, and the course had been operating consistently except for a few weeks during the coronavirus emergency. But McManus’s arrest casts yet another thick shadow over the relationship. City Manager Larry Newsom had again become dissatisfied with the conditions of the course even before the new charges against McManus, and has long favored ending the lease and finding a new operator. That may be discussed at tonight’s virtual meeting of the Flagler Beach City Commission.
“I’d like to basically get out of this lease and move forward,” Newsom said this afternoon. “A nine-hole golf course has a lot of potential. I’m not saying he hasn’t done a lot to get to that point, but I think he’s gone as far as he can go.” McManus has not contacted Newsom since news of his charges broke last week.
City Commissioner Rick Belhumeur has been a strong supporter of McManus, but his patience may be reaching expiration too.
“My thought is at this point to have a conversation with him about where he is as far as–I know he’s actively trying to sell off the business down there,” Belhumeur said. “Larry’s talked about it before. It might be a good time to approach him or have discussions with him relative to what he’s wanting for his investment. He may just want to get out, and get out of Dodge. I really don’t know. I’ve always been pulling for him to make it. Doesn’t make us look good, but then too, the lease is black and white. You can’t force him out because of something else that happened. So my thought would be that we approach him and have a conversation with him about what he’d be willing to accept to get out. There’s probably a number there somewhere.”
McManus is accused of making up a story about having a Caterpillar Skid Steer stolen from the golf course at the south end of Flagler Beach. He reported the $45,000 piece of equipment stolen to the Flagler Beach Police Department two days after reporting his Rolex watch stolen. The police department investigated for several months, tracking down the actual Skid Steer to a dealership in Canada, and to a customer who bought it in 2018. All the papers were in order. There’d been no theft, Rosanna Vinci , the Flagler Beach detective, concluded. Along the way, the detective was contacted by National Crime Bureau agents, who red-flagged McManus’s insurance claims as suspicious.
Sheriff Rick Staly featured McManus on his Fugitive Friday Bingo, the weekly Facebook feature, last week, days after a warrant had been issued for McManus’s arrest. (“The feature averages about a 65% apprehension rate from tips,” the sheriff’s office states.) McManus turning himself in, Staly said today, “saves the taxpayers some money,” because the search would otherwise have run up some bills. “We’d been working with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to stake out his house.” He had not been answering his door.
McManus is also battling a third-degree felony drunk driving charge in Flagler County, his third in 10 years. That case is scheduled for docket sounding, the last step before trial, on June 2 before Circuit Judge Terence Perkins.
Concerned Citizen says
Who hired this guy? Were any background checks done???
They should have. Lots of charges in there
Sell the land to a developer and distribute the proceeds to the residents of Flagler Beach.
CB from PC says
When Curious George Accounting performs an audit, they will surely find monkey business. Seriously, Why is anyone “protecting”this guy? As they used to says”follow the money trail”.
This place is fraught with fraud pilfering mismanagement under handed good ole boy network philandering. That Closing cant happen fast enough for me.
M Greg Krupey says
Who do you think has been running the golf course for the last year, residents who live around the course, who play golf there , and have a vested interest in the course to preserve it, who volunteer their time, who take money out of their own pockets to buy chemicals and fertilizer and grass seed, who buy parts for the equipment to keep it running, volunteer mechanical work at no cost because McMannus won’t spend money on it. But he is mad because the Town of Flagler will not recognize the fact he took large sums of money out of his own pocket to fix the course up initially, and they just want him to walk away without getting any of his investment back. You can’t blame him for not walking away especially when there is pressure being put on him from various angles to do just that.
Form a committee of the local residents to run it. They will restore it to the gem it used to be. Give McMannus what he deserves and he does deserve something. I would take it over myself and run it and have been asked to do so. But it’s like opening up a can of worms. Who can take the liability risks of for example an alligator coming up out of a pond and biting someone’s leg off. And there are a few 8 footers down there. I can’ t. The Town tried to take the easy way out by leasing it out. There is no easy way out. At best any golf course is a break even proposition now, but to say you want to sell it to developers is the most near sighted thing I have ever heard of.
It needs to be kept a golf course. It’s a cultural and recreational centerpiece for South Beach. For us it’s irreplaceable.
Sincerely M Greg Krupey
Ocean View Manor
Flagler Beach Florida
Stephen Smith says
I agree. It’s a cultural and recreational centerpiece for South Beach. It would be a shame to lose this gem.
Just can’t help but think this was intended to be the county dumping yet another losing venture. If Matanzas Woods folded, there are no guarantees for any golf courses in the area. There will be winners & losers in that. I mean the 90’s to the 00’s it took a golfing phenom like Tiger Woods to stage a comeback for the sport. When the economy takes the dumps every 8 to 12 years that it did. End of Clinton, End of Bush and now Coronvirus pandemic. We are a bailout society that reboots. every shift change of administrations. 8 years of Obama, 3 and change into Trump. The pandemic is really nothing more than a recession with a total of 4 Coronavirus fatalities. So here we have the story of Tin Cup movie script at a 9 hole golf course in Flagler Beach, only there is no out of nowhere PGA Pro involved. All we have is a guy named Terry that tried to make the 9 hole a better draw and more affordable for the masses as a recreational activity.
Basically need a philanthropist to step up for that and offer the golf course as a loss leader to get people out on the fairways. Otherwise, it’s just another taxpayer’s burden. I read residential developer and that won’t work for very long either, it’ll be residential housing & tax revenue, until there simply isn’t anything to support that even. It then reverts to some of the sections of Palm Coast that are crumbling as urban decay, only rurally. I did see some of that in NC 30 years in the rear view mirror, you can still see that in Nassau County FL, broke levels of rural poverty is as real in the USA as urban decay & inner city poverty.
Terry McManus says
Thank you Greg for at least an intelligent realistic comment, they are RARE in these forums. As for the headline in this story, people are VERY NAIVE with their rush to judgement thinking that just because its in the media, it must be true.
As far as the golf course. Flagler Golf Management was awarded the lease opportunity because FGM was the only company willing to dig the golf course, that had been over grown to the point that you did not realize there used to be a golf course, out of a jungle for a decade with its own money. All of the other candidates wanted the City to fund it. Hundreds of thousands of dollars and over a year of time and work to reopen. After a year of being open and people were happy, and the place was ever improving. The community had a need, not the golf course, to develop infrastructure to reduce the stormwater flooding and that infrastructure was the golf course. So the course was torn apart, closed partially (and it was already only 9 holes, so reducing it to 4 or 5 holes was utterly ridiculous) and then completely, FGM was of the understanding that the project would allow for FGM to be compensated for its loss of revenue during the project AND even more importantly RESTORE the course to its condition prior to the project. BOTH of these failed miserably. Im not here to point fingers in this forum. Mistakes were made on BOTH the management of FGM and by the City officials managing the project. However this caused a setback of 2 years, And the need for FGM again with its own money to have to come in and renovate and cultivate the golf course for a second time in 3 years. That is a tremendous financial burden for an entity that is just starting out. Not to mention multiple catastrophic hurricanes and now a global pandemic that again put the golf course out of business.
FGM is going anywhere in walking away from it enormous investment of money and time into the Golf Course. However, is open minded and currently seeking investors and or operators or to work at a deal with the City government that is amicable to both sides. If anyone has any intelligent input for ideas or suggestions, feel free to email me. FGM GREATLY, appreciates the support and love of ALL of the wonderful people and volunteers that we have come to know over the years.
Tee Off ! says
Closing the course and selling it to a developer is a terrible idea. Just ask the residents who live on The Palm Harbor course what their view was like when that course closed.
Property values dramatically go down.
Then next will come the huge debate on what can and cannot be built there while the weeds grow. Don’t forget the construction traffic for those Flagler Beach residents who want to see it closed. You want more development?
Let’s not forget the sensitive environment and wildlife issues. It’s a good 9 hole course for the money. Under proper management, it could be great and profitable.
Yep, close it. It is a dog track at best. Use the proceeds to buy the fire chief his new fire truck.
CB from PC says
I watched all the public courses I learned to play golf on as a teenager become corporate headquarters or be sold to developers.
If I wanted to take up the game now, my parents would not be able to afford a private country club.
When this Coronavirus crisis moderates, why not have student teams or at least clinics for kids to take up the game?
We need to have someone to pass the torch to. Student discount revenue is better than none.
The game promotes exercise, mental focus and enjoyment of the outdoors. Not to mention you can play the game for a lifetime.