KNOX TWP. — Tony Jaber bought himself a golf course — and the course-seller isn’t too happy about it.

Jaber posted the high bid of $495,000 for Sleepy Hollow Country Club near Alliance during an auction on Tuesday afternoon. Moments after the usual congratulatory round of applause from bidders and watchers, course owner Mike Monastra sought out Jaber.

“You better call your lawyer,” Monastra told him. “Because I ain’t letting this thing go for that price ... I ain’t going out of this thing backwards. I mean it. I’m serious.”

Jaber did not reply.

The 78-year-old Monastra had purchased the course five years ago, when he also owned Skyland Pines in Canton. During that span, he labored physically and financially to update the irrigation system, build a driving range and book leagues and $85,000 worth of golf outings this summer.

Monastra had expected a higher price for the 117-acre property, even with a sale term that required the buyer to operate it as a golf course for at least this year.

“I put my heart and soul in this place,” said Monastra, who was a member of the 92-year-old public course just east of Alliance before he bought it. “This ain’t Christmas and I ain’t Santa Claus.”

The absolute auction, hosted by Kiko Auctions, included nearly everything — from the clubhouse and banquet room, down to the mowers, equipment and 10,000 range balls.

One price for the whole thing.

“It’s a good little place,” auctioneer Russell “Rusty Kiko” told bidders, as he continued to tantalize prospective bidders throughout the auction, trying to bump the price ever-higher.

“You want to make a buck, you’ve got to spend a buck,” he said, his voice cascading from a speaker stationed in an open area in front of the putting green.

Bids were taken in a per acre price, multiplied by the total acreage of 117, plus a 10 percent buyer’s premium. Kiko tried to begin the bidding at $10,000 per acre, but eventually it opened at $2,000, cheaper than the price of farmland, Kiko reminded bidders.

It slowly crept upward, sometimes in increments of only $25 or $50, until it finally stalled. The winning bid from Jaber was $3,850 per acre, which amounts to about $495,000 in total.

Jaber, of Mogadore, operates The Venue Banquets, a party center and catering business on Tallmadge Circle in Summit County. He’s also run Firehouse Grille and Pub locations in Northeast Ohio, as well as Pizza Works, a Malvern eatery that caught fire in 2009.

He said his only immediate plans for Sleepy Hollow are to continue to run the 18-hole golf course and renovate a banquet area and kitchen, which Monastra had left idle.

 

Reach Tim at 330-580-8333 or tim.botos@cantonrep.com.

On Twitter: @tbotosREP