By Stephanie Yuvienco and Kaitlyn Martin
Irena Weiss grew up across the Roslyn Country Club. She recalls teaching her daughter, Jacqueline, how to swim back when the pool was still open. But two weeks ago, while walking her toy poodle, Benji, she noticed the vines and tree roots growing as thick as the backwoods around the pool and tennis courts.
“It’s such a shame because it’s all overgrown and you can’t even walk there because it’s very run-down,” Weiss said.
On October 24, the town board of North Hempstead voted unanimously in a 7-0 decision to begin legal proceedings against Manouchehr Malekan of Corona Realty Holdings LLC, the owner of Roslyn Country Club. Malekan agreed to let the town purchase the property, but it’s been five years and he will not move forward with the deal, breaching the contract.
“All I can tell you is that Corona Realty has been unresponsive to attempts at contact and activities and their own thoughts,” Councilman Peter Zuckerman said.
The first court case between Corona Realty LLC and the Town of North Hempstead began in 1992 when the “Landmark Preservation Commission of the Town of North Hempstead denied an application to designate both the clubhouse and the surrounding 10 acres as a landmark,” according to a court document. There have than five cases where the town fought Corona to preserve the club and its surrounding land as a landmark.
Town officials stand by the mission to represent its voters who want to restore the heart and soul of the country club, Zuckerman said.
“We’d like to have it preserved and have North Hempstead take it over.” Weiss said. “I think the pool and the tennis courts will just make [the town] more desirable.”
In 1959, the residents were granted easement rights, the right to enter onto a property without owning it, to use the pool and tennis courts with a membership fee. Malekan decided to raise the membership fee in 2007 to a much higher rate than the starting $150, after deciding it was too expensive to maintain the facilities. The residents refused to pay, arguing the new membership was exorbitant, so Malekan tried to re-evaluate the easement rights through a lawsuit, which led to the closure of the pool and the tennis courts. The catering area remained open, and the catering service is still in business.
“All he was interested in was the catering and he was looking for a loophole to not have the expense of operating a pool,” Weiss said.
Upon being contacted for further comment, neither Harris Beach PLLC in Uniondale nor Jaroslawicz & Jaros PLLC, the two law firms representing the town and club owner respectively, were aware of the town’s decision to pursue legal action against the club.
“I am not aware of any litigation,” said David Jaroslawicz of Jaroslawicz & Jaros PLLC. “Any action commenced by the Town would be frivolous since their time under contract to possibly purchase property expired years ago.”
Even residents who have not heard of the recent legal actions regarding the Roslyn Country Club are hoping for the additional space to welcome a new social scene within the town. Andre Hashinaga, a new resident who moved to Roslyn Heights a year ago, confirms the town’s solidarity for the land’s preservation and restoration.
“I can see that an open space like the tennis courts could help bring the children and families together in this community,” Hashinaga said.