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Ocean Pines F&B contract not yet inked

Closed session on Monday not enough to close deal

A cramped crowd of Ocean Pines Association homeowners gathers inside the conference room of the administration building during a meeting on Monday night when public comments made up the bulk of the meeting.

By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(March 29, 2018) No agreement was reached on a contract for Ocean Pines food and beverage management during a closed session discussion Monday night.

General Manager John Bailey, in an emailed statement Monday evening, said, “The Board had a great discussion about the F&B contract but took no action tonight. The matter is on the agenda for Thursday night.”

During the public portion of the meeting, a large crowd spilled into a small room in the Ocean Pines administration building, although the posted agenda called for no more than the approval of the agenda itself and an adjournment to closed session for contractual issues.

The contractual issues were believed to be approval of a contract with the Matt Ortt Companies to operate the two major association food and beverage operations, the beach club and yacht club.

Association Vice President Cheryl Jacobs, by way of apology, said no other meeting room was available. Association President Doug Parks, she said, was out of town on business and would participate by phone.

During public comments, homeowner Joe Reynolds said Parks “promised transparency in the selection of a management company” but did not fulfil that promise.

“There has been no transparency,” Reynolds said. “Association members are left totally in the dark. A special meeting to discuss the Matt Ortt contract and related renovations at the yacht club [last Wednesday] was canceled. The board packet related to that meeting was removed from the OPA website.”

Reynolds said the packet for the canceled meeting included $77,000 worth of “phase one” renovations that had already begun at the yacht club. Moreover, he said emails from Ortt discussed “hiring of an executive chef and perhaps other employees,” along with booking entertainment.

“At this moment in time, the board of directors has not even approved a contract with Matt Ortt Companies,” Reynolds said. “How could the board possibly negotiate a contract from a position of strength, given the contractor is already operating on the premises, hiring people, and the opening day is [in] about one month?”

Several other homeowners asked about renovations occurring without input from the county fire marshal.

Tom Bierley said the association should “probably put the fire marshal on speed dial.” He asked if reported cases of mold at the yacht club that closed the facility in January had been addressed.

Pat Hall said she was “disgusted when [she] pulled up pictures of the yacht club [online] with all that reconstruction, tables [and] chairs there, dust all over the place, plus nobody even knew it was going on.”

“I don’t know how much worse it can be … it’s pretty bad,” she said.

The directors declined to address any of the public comments.

A regular board meeting is scheduled for today, Thursday, at 7 p.m. in the Assateague Room of the community center on 235 Ocean Parkway.