Steve Rogers

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Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

EMCC Likely to Own Country Club

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — East Mississippi Community College could take over operation of the Columbus Country Club by the end of the year.

The two-year college’s $1.6 million bid was the only one received by this week’s bankruptcy court deadline.

The formal auction and sale is expected to be completed during an Oct. 5 court hearing and auction.

“We will hold a hearing on Oct. 5 and unless something unusual happens and someone comes in with an offer that the bankruptcy judge will accept, EMCC will be the bidder,” said Jackson-based attorney Craig Geno, who is handling the bankruptcy for the Country Club. “We’ll put on a few minutes of proof and then it will be done.

“Earlier this summer, the college said it wanted to close the deal by August which just wasn’t possible. So unless something has changed, I anticipate they will want to close the deal as soon as possible, likely by the start of the winter term,” Geno continued.

The college plans to open a turf-management and culinary arts program using the golf course, clubhouse and swimming pool. Its golf team also will play there.

“East Mississippi Community College has submitted a bid for the Columbus Country Club property. While we have no official word, it is our understanding we are the only qualified bidder at this point. EMCC officials will be present at a public bid opening scheduled for Friday, Oct. 5. The process is in the hands of the bankruptcy judge and EMCC will reserve all public comment until after the bid opening,” EMCC President, Dr. Rick Young, said in a written statement.

Members will lose their privileges but the college has said it hopes to work out a usage agreement with them.

Current country club members will lose their privileges, but the college has said it hopes to work out a use agreement with them.

The club filed for bankruptcy last year after it was unable to work out of some $2.3 million in debts. EMCC’s offer will cover most of th secured debt held by local banks but won’t cover any other debts, including $300,000 to Columbus businessman David Shelton, who pumped in the money three years ago in an effort to keep it afloat.

Shelton originally indicated he might make an offer on the club but didn’t. EMCC’s informal offer, which it made during the month-long formal bid process, was more than Shelton had said he was willing to pay.