Escondido Country Club owner facing charges

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jan 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-13 02:39:27-05

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) -- Charges have now been filed against the owner of the abandoned Escondido Country Club property. It’s the latest saga to a battle that’s been ongoing for years.

Neighbors living side-by-side may not agree on what should be done to the property behind their homes. But now that charges have been filed against the man who owns that property, they agree - it’s not enough.

“Look at that. It’s so discouraging to see that because we loved this clubhouse, we loved this community, it was our community," said Maria Bowman. 

Bowman has lived in the community since the early 2000’s, and wishes her neighborhood could go back to the way it was - equipped with a clubhouse and golf course.

Michael Schlesinger bought the property 2012, shutting down the businesses a few months later.

Doree Grindell never knew the community when the golf course and clubhouse were around. For the last two years, the mess at the center has always been there. 

“I sit in my backyard and have coffee and we see homeless people going in and out of the county club," she said. 

Then in November, a massive fire forced many of them from their homes in the middle of the night. 

RELATED: Fire burns controversial Escondido Country Club

Whether the fire was set intentionally or by a homeless person is still under investigation.

“I mean, he owns this property," Grindell said, referring to Schlesinger.  "It should be secured, it should be maintained.”

The City of Escondido seems to agree. That's why criminal charges were filed against Schlesinger for code violations - like broken windows, debris, the insecure nature of the buildings and graffiti.

In 2014, he was fined by the County for slapping down five tons of raw chicken manure to keep the grass green.

Schlesinger’s attorney told the San Diego Union-Tribune Friday that the new charges are “appalling” and “nothing more than a crude publicity stunt.”

Neighbors tell 10News they hope this will help get the area cleaned up.

“I want to see it developed, just to get the riff-raff out of the neighborhood," Grindell said. 

In November the Escondido City Council voted to allow the construction of 380 new homes on the property. However, a community group filed a lawsuit to fight that plan.