Golf pro under scrutiny

The City of Ashland is conducting an investigation into a city contractor working for the Parks and Recreation Department.

Bob Haney, golf pro at the city operated Oak Knoll Golf Course, has been accused of menacing and unfair business practices by Ashland resident Gerard Jones.

Jones, a former employee of Haney's, released an e-mail containing a section of his alleged 243 problems with the Oak Knoll Golf Course and Bob Haney to the city, the Oregon Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Jones was fired by Haney in 1997 after a disagreement over a payroll issue. Since then he has been documenting alleged incidents of menacing by Haney. Jones admits that the feud is in some ways personally motivated.

"He doesn't like me and I don't like him," Jones said. "He threatened me. This is the truth. If this weren't true he could sue me, but he didn't sue me because it is true."

In his e-mails Jones claims that Haney is guilty of menacing him through physical and verbal threats. He also claims that Haney makes racist comments about patrons and participates in unfair business practices.

"We are very aware of the situation," said Parks and Recreation Director Don Robertson. "There is an investigation and we are definitely following up on the situation."

Robertson confirmed that he had met with members of the community other than Jones about the situation but declined to comment on the identities of those he met with or the outcome of the meetings.

Southern Oregon University professor D.L. Richardson has identified himself as one of the residents to meet with Robertson. Richardson, who is black, is listed in Jones' e-mails as a target of Haney's attacks.

"Obviously Haney has never used such words around me," Richardson said. "My hope is that with all the work the city of Ashland has done to make the area a more accepting place for minorities that such acts are not taking place within the city itself."

Richardson is involved with the Ashland Cultural Diversity Alliance and has worked with the city on several events promoting the awareness of diversity in the city.

"I feel that they have the best interest of the community in mind," Richardson said. "I'm giving it a few weeks to see what happens before pursuing anything further."

Interim City Attorney Richard Appicello confirmed that it would be at least another week before the investigation was complete, or before anyone from the city could comment on the situation.

"They are doing an investigation," Appicello said. "We try to be responsible and follow up when people make complaints."

Bob Haney was contacted for this story but declined to comment.

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