New Patch management asks for repairs; questions linger about 1 manager's criminal past

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Patch is coming under new management after its last operator couldn't pay the rent.

Brian Hendry's group was five months late on rent, so the city awarded the lease to three brothers out of Augusta, but those brothers want the city to make repairs first.

They want the city to fix the leaky roof and broken air conditioning, among other things.

"Stuff that seems to me to be fairly normal maintenance kinds of things," City Administrator Fred Russell said. "It only makes sense for us to keep our property up."

It's maintenance that also comes with an unknown price tag.

"We're still working on that," Russell said. "Some of my guys were actually looking at it today."

Commissioners would have to vote on any money for repairs, but Russell says he hopes to have a better idea of what repairs as well as their cost by Friday.

If the city does make the repairs, the Patch will have new management. One of those managers is Dennis Kelly. Kelly spent time in federal prison in the mid-90s for fraud, money laundering and conspiracy charges.

City leaders say to leave it in the past.

"He went to jail, and he served his time, and I guess you can be forgiving to some people but not to all people," said Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles.

"I think we're a society that if you make a mistake, take your punishment, and you should be able to move on," Russell added.

Bowles also said there's no city risk in entering into a lease agreement with Kelly.

"When the city leases a building out and receives rent, how are we doing business with somebody?" Bowles asked. "They're operating a golf course, and we have no risk in it."

Kelly's brother also told News 12 that the convictions have nothing to do with their group running the golf course. They say they love golf and just want to keep the course here as long as they possibly can.

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