Jack Nicklaus' Company Being Sued
By mustang6560 on 6/23/11
Life's not always peachy for the Golden Bear.

Jack Nicklaus and his company, the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, is being sued by a Colorado couple for his role in a failed luxury resort in Utah.
E. Jeffrey Donner, a Fort Collins orthopedic surgeon, and his wife, Judee, claim the legendary golfer "solicited" them in 2007 to buy a $1.5 million membership and lot in the proposed Mount Holly Club, which was to include a Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course.

But when the $3.5 billion project near Beaver went belly up, the Donners claim Nicklaus and his company, Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, took no responsibility for the debts and obligations incurred by the primary developer, Mount Holly Partners LLC. The suit contends Nicklaus knew Mount Holly faced serious financial and legal problems but failed to disclose them.

The Donners seek to recoup their investment as well as punitive damages.
Do I think Donners were influenced to invest in the resort because of Jack Nicklaus' name? Absolutely. Should he be responsible because the company financing the project went belly up? Absolutely not.

This is the tricky part about doing business as a famous individual. Professional athletes and celebrities are often approached by businessmen who promise to help them grow their fortune, while at the same time making some money for themselves. The problem is, it doesn't always work out in the end.

I saw this first hand here in Jackson, Mississippi with Deuce McAllister. He is from Mississippi and played football at Ole Miss, then went on to play in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints. Deuce, who was looking to grow his money and brand image in the Jackson-area, went into business with a few people and got burned. So instead of growing his money, he lost money and the value of his name took a hit.

I doubt Jack will be found responsible for this and the value of his name won't suffer either. At worse, he'll settle for a smaller amount than what the Donnors want.

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photo by Keith Allison

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