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Woodcrest members to vote on club's sale

File photo of the Woodcrest Country Club in

File photo of the Woodcrest Country Club in Syosset. (January 2010) Credit: Pablo Corradi

The bankrupt Woodcrest Club in Syosset will vote Thursday on whether the country club should be sold.

No bid for the 107-acre property is being promoted at the 7 p.m. vote, but specific offers, including ones to preserve the club, are expected in a few days, according to club attorney Ken Silverman. "There's been interest expressed and overtures made, and we're vetting them," he said.

The vote comes after the private nonprofit club last week terminated its interim agreement, signed in November, with club member and builder John Bennardo to lend the club up to $2 million and run it for five years. The club filed bankruptcy papers last month and had been negotiating with Bennardo on a longer-term management deal.

Bennardo said negotiations collapsed over who could control certain day-to-day operations, including such issues as meal and golfing schedules. "I wasn't willing to give it up, because I was putting all my money up," the builder said.

Silverman declined to detail issues but said, "There was no meeting of the minds over what the management agreement should provide."

Woodcrest has been bleeding members during the past year as expenses exceeded revenue, despite some cutbacks and an increase in newcomers. Bennardo said about 100 members remain.

A group of 39 former members, whose memberships ended in December, filed a complaint saying they were not given an option to vote on Bennardo's deal and that the board did not fully consider an $18 million offer for the property in November.

That offer would be enough money to pay off club's debts and equity shares held by members, said Michael Moskowitz, attorney for the former members. He said the bankruptcy judge has temporarily extended his clients' voting rights.

In its written response, the board said former members should pay dues for this year if they wish to have a say and that the membership had fully supported Bennardo's deal.

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