The Main Stream

Sep 28, 2012 2:10 AM by Tom McNamara

Tucson golf resort in the rough

TUCSON - We all know that summer is a slow time for golf in the desert, but employees of one local golf course say their employer is giving them 'the shaft.'
They tell News Four Tucson they've been paid late, or not at all.
They say water's been shut off to the clubhouse...
And golfers are forced to use 'porta-potties' at the high-end course.

Video and pictures from inside the clubhouse show the restaurant closed.
There's no water in the bathrooms. A company memo indicates Tucson Water cut off service here a week ago. And, 'porta potties' dot the property.

The company's former payroll manager tells us she just left her job with a bad taste, and, a bad check. Her third, in fact. She didn't want her face shown.
But she said, "I went to Wells Fargo, there's no money in the account. They cannot cash my check." That bad check is for over 37-hundred dollars.

Maria said the company did eventually make good on another recent bad check for 25-hundred dollars.

She told us the owners of Arizona National have had cash flow problems for months now.
"We started to become, slowly, one pay period behind, and then two pay periods behind, I mean, I was ordered to hold checks in a safe , locked up, so that employees could not have access to them."

At one point, she said, a top company officer sent her an e-mail, urging her to begin direct deposit of her pay, to help protect her from the course's broader payroll problems.
It said "please keep this between you and me."

Maria also said the company never told her they had stopped paying her health insurance premiums several months ago. So she's on the hook now for several big medical bills.

She told us she was terminated after she refused to relocate her job to California. "I'm now forced to borrow from family since i'm at the point of no return."

Maria said the company that owns 'Arizona National' has numerous courses.
And many are having problems with payroll and operations.
She said, "I know numerous ones have had the electricity turned off, or no trash pick-up, things like that. or poor maintenance in the Carolinas, where fungus was growing on their greens."

We spoke by phone with the head of 'Arizona National,' Jeff Silverstein, who told us he's addressing these problems.
He said: "if they (employees) are not being paid, I suggest they go to their supervisor and it will be handled."

As for the water shut-off, Silverstein claims his account with Tucson Water isn't delinquent. He said "we believe it's a mistake. we're talking to the city and we believe it will be resolved by friday."

But Tucson Water told us 'Arizona National' owes them over 218-thousand dollars.
SIlverstein also operates the 'Golf Club at Vistoso,' for which Maria also did payroll. She says they're also having payroll problems.
And we've come across complaints and other media reports about similar problems at other Silverstein-run courses in Arizona and North Carolina.

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