The city of Frederick’s golf club manager has spent thousands of city dollars advertising his private clinics and camps at the golf course, but the city has not been reimbursed for all of the costs and does not make any money from the events.

It is unclear how much exactly Donald Frost, Clustered Spires Golf Club manager and director of golf, has failed to repay during his 19 years with the city.

Frost receives all profits from the private events he hosts at the course, which include lessons, clinics, schools and camps. He is required to reimburse the city for all expenses related to advertising the private events, according to his contract with the city.

The Frederick News-Post reviewed newspaper ads for Clustered Spires published in the newspaper since August 2013 and found that five of the 10 ads mentioned Frost’s private events. The city does not have record of receiving reimbursement for the cost of those ads, which was $1,994.61, according to data the city provided The News-Post in response to a Maryland Public Information Act request.

The city has spent $75,427.05 on 331 radio or newspaper ads for public and private events at Clustered Spires since July 2009, the data show. In that time period, the city has record of receiving a total of $1,092.89 in reimbursements in three separate payments in August 2009, May 2011 and July 2011.

It is unknown how much of the $75,427.05 Frost should have repaid, as the ads were for both private and public events, and Frost is only responsible for reimbursing the city for ads for his private events. Public events include special days at the course such as Oakley Day. The city can’t provide the content of the ads, legal assistant V. Lee Whisner said in her response to the information act request.

The city will not comment on the advertising reimbursements. The city and Frederick Police Department are currently investigating possible theft and management problems at the club, said Frederick Mayor Randy McClement.

The city should have been reimbursed for the advertising costs, McClement said, and if it wasn’t, then the city will see that it is.

Frost wrote in an email that he would like to talk, but is bound by regulations and cannot comment until the city has concluded its investigation.

Frost has not been placed on leave while the city investigates, McClement said.

It is unclear whether the city asked Frost for the money, or if the city is keeping track of which of the advertising costs he is responsible for reimbursing.

Asked who is in charge of reviewing Clustered Spires transactions, including expenses for ads, McClement said he leaves the review of departmental expenses to the department directors. Roelkey Myers is the city’s deputy director of Parks and Recreation, which includes the golf course.

“I’m not sure exactly what the checks and balances are,” McClement said. “Should there be (checks and balances)? The answer is yes.”

The golf course is part of the city’s annual audit, McClement said.

Investigation continues

The city’s investigation began in mid-February after Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak gave the police and McClement documents she thinks show possible theft and mismanagement at the club, including cash register receipts, timecard information and advertising expenses.

Since then, city human relations and legal staff have been working with the police department to investigate, said Lt. Clark Pennington, police department spokesman.

“There has been a lot of movement since then,” Pennington said.

Pennington said he does not anticipate the investigation taking much longer. He said he could not be more specific on the timeframe.

McClement has confirmed that part of the city’s investigation includes whether Frost has been reimbursing the city for advertising spots for his private clinics. Overall, city staff is looking into whether city policies were followed.

The city buys an average of 54 Clustered Spires ads a year for an average annual cost of $12,010.89, although the amounts vary greatly each year. The average cost of an ad, some of which run multiple times in the newspaper or on the radio, also vary, but the average city expense was $209.85 in fiscal 2009 and $373.52 in fiscal 2015.

McClement has also confirmed the city is investigating cash register protocol and practices at the club, and whether Frost and other city golf professionals have been holding private lessons and clinics during city work hours.

The police department is gathering information and conducting interviews, he said.

Pennington said he could not share whether golf course employees have been interviewed.

“We conduct very thorough investigations,” he said.

When looking at allegations, he said, clearing people of wrongdoing is just as important as developing a criminal case.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Whisner's title. 

Follow Jen Fifield on Twitter: @JenAFifield.

(17) comments

pbrookslse

Today's going to be sunny and low 70's. I'm going to head down and get a round in....

fnfn

We are paying twice, what the county homes, that are gerrymandered around us pay, that do not pay any city taxes.

We read our city have a big $ problem with our city airport program and golf program.

FNP said we have $10 Million in properties to sell. We should smartly use all resources to get our finances in order.

We are paying off too many bonds and should not issue any more bonds until we are on sound financial status. In fact we should not finance anything, we should only pay for what we can afford each year. We should not put our citizens in debt and get out of debt.

BstD59

You should be telling this to the Mayor and Alderman. If they don't hear us voice our concerns then they are not going to govern well. In their minds they are doing a good job if no one complains.

We are stuck for the next 3 years with an incompetent and inadequate mayor and aldermen, they need to be reminded that there is a job to be done. Many jobs, actually, and they are responsible for all of them.

DickD

From the FNP:
Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak gave the police and McClement documents she thinks show possible theft and mismanagement at the club, including cash register receipts, timecard information and advertising expenses.

From the FNP:
"Frederick police opened a criminal investigation Feb. 4 after receiving a call from Kuzemchak, said Lt. Clark Pennington, police spokesman. The department is reviewing financial transactions at the golf club and talking to people who may have information, he said." Kuzemchak gave The Frederick News-Post several documents Feb. 9 that she also gave to the police and McClement.
The alderwoman said she brought the documents forward without being sure what to make of them and wanted the city to do a proper investigation. “I don’t think the city has been giving proper oversight to the management of the golf course over the years,” she said. Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak gave the police and McClement documents she thinks show possible theft and mismanagement at the club, including cash register receipts, timecard information and advertising expenses.

From the FNP:
"Based on estimated revenue for fiscal 2015, this year, Frost is expected to make $114,670 in total salary and commissions. That does not include the money he is making from lessons, clinics and camps. That pushes his compensation higher than that of his supervisor, parks and recreation department head Roelkey Myers, whose fiscal 2015 salary is $112,375" " Frost’s salary is $86,230. He receives a monthly 3.5 percent commission for gross sales of golf cart rentals, range use and pro shop sales. He also receives a monthly commission of 0.5 percent of gross green fees."

I estimate the lessons, clinics and camps to bring in $50,000/yr. which may be low. If you add up the total of salary, commissions and private earnings it would come to an estimated $154,670. But this does not include any amounts owed to the City for advertising and amounts missing from cash register receipts, which appear to be small in comparison, although there were a couple of significant shortages.

From the FNP:
"While work hours are flexible, Frost is expected to work 40 regular hours a week, the contract states. Copies of Frost’s 2014 desk calendars and time sheets, provided by Kuzemchak, show that he often gives up to four lessons on a weekday, especially during summer months. On Sept. 10, for example, Frost clocked nine regular hours, along with four lessons in the afternoon. Lessons by Frost are advertised on clusteredspiresgolf.com as $80 for 55 minutes. The city does not keep track of his lessons and clinics, nor how much he makes from them. Salaried employees keep track of their own time, McClement said. They log their hours and receive compensation time for overtime hours, he said. McClement said he could not comment on the documents, as that is part of the ongoing investigation."

March 1, 2015 FNP
"Under Frost’s contract, he is not allowed to hold private lessons and clinics at the course while on the clock, as he takes all revenue from these activities, and he must pay for all advertising of private lessons and clinics."

How much is owed on the adds is questionable, but if the City spent $75,427.05 on 331 radio or newspaper ads for public and private events at Clustered Spires since July 2009, the data show. In that time period, the city has record of receiving a total of $1,092.89 in reimbursements in three separate payments in August 2009, May 2011 and July 2011. Frost is required to reimburse the city for all expenses related to advertising the private events, according to his contract with the city.

March 1, 2015 FNP
"The Frederick News-Post reviewed newspaper ads for Clustered Spires published in the newspaper since August 2013 and found that five of the 10 ads mentioned Frost’s private events. The city does not have record of receiving reimbursement for the cost of those ads, which was $1,994.61, according to data the city provided The News-Post in response to a Maryland Public Information Act request."

From the FNP:
"One document found at the Clustered Spires Golf Club, and provided by Kuzemchak, instructs employees to follow a procedure to close out cash registers that McClement said is not a procedure the city would want employees to follow. The note tells employees that if the cash in the drawer at closing time is more than $5 off what it should be, the employee closing out should correct the difference manually. “If over, try to ring in something to cover the overage,” the document states. “If short, you may have to void a transaction to offset the cash shortage.” If the employee is short a significant amount, the note tells employees “please call Mo or Scott to walk you through the process.” This appears to be a reference to the course’s head pro Maureen Barolet and assistant pro Scott Peterson. “This is not the way we would expect city transactions to be handled,” McClement said."Statements from April 26, 2014, show that $1,543 in cash transactions were voided that day, including a $1,080 cash purchase of greens fees over the sunny weekend.

Statements from April 26, 2014, show that $1,543 in cash transactions were voided that day, including a $1,080 cash purchase of greens fees over the sunny weekend.
Other receipts from 2013 and 2014 show voided transactions on the same day that city employees made purchases for similar amounts from outside companies.One receipt shows a $27 cash transaction voided from the register Oct. 23, 2013, the same day an employee purchased materials from Lowe’s for $25.34.

DickD

clustered spires golf course, frederick private lessons
Lesson Rates & Packages
Don Frost, PGA, Lesson Rates
$80.00 for 55 minutes
Series of 5 lessons $350.00
Juniors $50.00
Playing lessons, 55 minutes $80.00
Payment- Cash or Check only.

All lessons with Don can combine “The Vault,” his outdoor private lesson tee, and on course instruction, to provide the best possible learning experience possible!

CLINICS: The Don Frost Golf Clinics at Clustered Spires are the area’s oldest and most successful golf instructional program. The clinics started in 1997 and have routinely been a sellout. Over 4,000 people have learned the game of golf in this setting. The clinics are limited to 12 students with 2 PGA certified golf professionals instructing the classes. The student /teacher ratio is kept small (1 to 6 max) manageable and most importantly personable. The clinics are 1 hour per week for 4 weeks. Classes are held at 6:00pm or 7:15pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, April through October. Golf topics include instruction on; putting, short game, fundamentals of the full swing with irons, and woods. Clinics also highlight practice drills, rules of golf and how to buy golf clubs that are right for you. At the end of the clinic we will take the class on the golf course and actually do what we did during that particular clinic. We want to make you comfortable with actual on course situations. Students will receive a complete outline of all fundamental and topics covered throughout the entire clinic program to keep and review as needed.

At the beginning of each clinic the professional explains the fundamentals, demonstrates the swing, and asks if there are any questions. Then, the professionals come up to each student and privately work with you at your pace and skill level…the clinic now becomes a mini private lesson!

Clinic students range from experienced golfers wanting swing improvements and clearer swing thoughts, to beginners curious to see if they like the game of golf and then being able to learn the swing in an easy to understand process. (Clubs are provided if needed). Over the years 40% of our past students have returned to take a refresher clinic. They have commented on how much they enjoyed golf after being able to play better. Beginners have told us how surprisingly simple and fun the game actually was! 30% of our beginners have continued to play golf and only wish they had started earlier!

CLICK HERE for more information on Don Frost Golf Clinics

PRIVATE OUT DOOR PROFESSIONAL TEACHING AREA: Don has created an exclusive private teaching area for his students, so they enjoy learning and are not distracted by the public range. Don’s teaching tee is separated from the main driving range, set up on a small hill under a large elm tree, providing a nice shaded teaching environment. The teaching turf is specially maintained to mimic actual fairway conditions. The tee has been designed so you can practice up/down & side hill shots. Also available are many of the most popular swing aids to help increase the correct feel of the swing and quicken the learning process. “It is my favorite place to hit balls, I am sure you will like it too”. As Ben Hogan said, “you have to find your swing in the dirt”.+**********+

elymus43

Wonder why the city auditing dept. did not pick up on this matter??? Maybe, they could be looked into also. Sell the golf course ASAP.

sofanna

AGREE!

I think the taxpayers deserve to know what other funds the CITY has mismanaged. I'd like someone to say when the last audit was. Has there ever been an independent audit, not just the City's auditing department?

Mr. Frost worked for the City for 19 years. How long has the City been trying to find something to blame on Mr. Frost so they wouldn't be held accountable for mismanagement, if there was any? Is Mr. Frost being thrown under the bus to 'protect' City Directors, such as Roelky Myers, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation. What about Mr. Myers' superior?

If the City wants to sell the golf course, why is it necessary to find a reason to ruin a man's reputation and hurt his family?

Accusations have been made, people have already convicted Mr. Frost, as some comments reveal. God knows the TRUTH. He sees and knows everyone's heart and actions, regardless if you believe in Him or not.

AND, by the way, name calling is never appropriate when making a comment.

benwats

Agreed about the oversight. This man just did what he could get away with. The people above him never stopped or prevented him from violating his contract in so many ways. They should definitely be held accountable along with him and his head pro, who if you ever frequent this course, is the person who actually tries to run the place. She is responsible for the day to day operations due to the fact that he just shows up to give lessons. This woman has a reputation for being mean and nasty to any and all customers and employees. The Saturday tournament association used to have over 120 participants who not only would play golf, but would stay after and spend a lot of money at the snack bar. Due to her lack of customer service, she has driven off a lot of these players to other courses nearby. The tournaments are lucky to have 60 participants these days. As far as his reputation, he ruined it himself by being the way he is and taking such advantage of the city and especially the city tax payer and their dollars.
A lot of people are hopeful for a complete management change. The culture of this course also needs to change to help profitability.

DickD

If the City has a contract with Frost, both should live up to the contract. Does the contract give him all the rights he has taken? If not, he should be forced to give back all money he has defrauded the city of by his actions of not paying for adds, teaching and accepting money for teaching on the time he was being paid by the City, and any and all commissions.

I just don't know how the City has allowed this to go on. If Mr. Frost were working for a private company and he defrauded them, as alleged in this article, he would be facing jail time, in addition to paying back all illegitimate money received.

At Mr. Frost's salary, he was making a very good wage. As a manager, what constitutes free time for teaching? Most companies that make you managers consider you a full time employee and any work is already paid for by the Company. So, how was Mr. Frost allowed to teach private lessons, at any time, and keep the money? And use the golf course for his teaching! What a set up! Free place to teach, money being received for private lessons, while you are being paid for full time management of the golf course. Talk about abuse and privilege and then his buddy defends what I consider corruption and greed.

It is obvious the City does not know how to manage a golf course, the best thing they can do is to sell it and get out of a private business, which they don't belong in anyway. As far as the comments his friend made, they are just not relevant. Every golf course has a pro, all of them bring money to the golf course, they do not need to be managers of the golf course too and they do not need to get commissions on all items sold or rented.

The Frederick City Mayor needs to clean house. If he doesn't, the voters need to clean house at the next election!

benwats

All valid points. But the city could keep the course if it's profitable. Because of lack of quality management and no oversight, the GM and Head Pro of the course, and the manager at the city of these 2 individuals should all be cleaned out. If someone who had integrity and character were running this place and had proper oversight, it could be profitable.

DickD

Very good, I agree.

BstD59

Stealing from the taxpayer by not reimbursing the City for advertising is bad enough, but to me it is even worse that he held clinics and private lessons and was paid for them at the same time he was being paid his taxpayer funded salary.

And then we have our useless Mayor [not entirely useless I suppose, he does enjoy showing up for photo ops] who is quoted as saying “I’m not sure exactly what the checks and balances are,” McClement said. As I said, useless.

I also question the fact that Frost has not been put on leave while under investigation.

dcg326 and I actually agree, the golf course needs to be sold.

DickD

I can't believe he wasn't put on leave either. You are right McClement is useless!! And the golf course needs to be sold! IMMEDIATELY!

MAVRICKinc7

SO, after 19 years, why shouldn't WE examine the dirt and details related to yet another public ripoff and see how best to make sure we don't fall asleep AGAIN, for another 19 years of back slapping, good old boy and rural FAMILY rules and values that remain at the heart of conducting business in the Frederick Region much the same way as they've done since the surrender in the great war that ended 150 years ago?

Isn't the Frederick Region just so many past family generations and inhabitants of the past that keep being passed down from one governance agenda to the next? After all, who's winning the war now other than the same development carpet baggers and those found exempt by law, governments and the privledged?

I say keep the golf course, sell it to a NEW and qualified golf industry member who wants to keep golf in Fredericksburg with the appropriate strings of ownership that can be accounted for without the public footing the bills in a business, government has no business or government resources in which to administrate in the first place. Don't kick this current finding to the curb. Let the private sector and their cheaters foot the bill and let taxation do all the talking for County coffers and a single steam of funding that doesn't need the cost of guard posts for another 19 or so years from now.

dcg326

Sell the golf course and , remove the freeloader from us now,Not needed.

DickD

I totally agree dcg!

fnfn

Thanks, I can understand you. Sell at best price.

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