CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – One of the most exclusive country clubs in Charlotte, Myers Park Country Club, is considering giving Mayor Vi Lyles a free membership. If approved, Lyles’ $95,000 initiation fee would be waived and she would be dining and golfing with Charlotte’s top 1%.
After repeated requests for an interview, to no avail, Lyles’ city staff said in an email she “has no interest in becoming a member at Myers Park Country Club” despite the fact that she applied for a membership months ago.
A member of Myers Park Country Club took a picture of the Club’s internal website, showing the current “proposed members”. At the top of the list is Mayor Vi Lyles, but her potential membership was different than the rest. The website says she would be an “honorary” member, which means she wouldn’t have to pay the almost six-figure initiation fee.
“It’s less of a question of a legal problem and more of an ethical problem. I mean, $95,000 of a fee waived to join an elite, exclusive Country Club in the City of Charlotte. That’s way above the $50 that is allowed under the city ethics code and gift code,” said Kyle Luebke, Local Attorney/ Community Activist.
Luebke is very concerned Lyles is being considered for such an expensive perk.
According to a former Carmel Country Club employee, who wants to remain anonymous, the process of applying to get into the Myers Park Country Club is an extensive one. He said for Lyles to get to the point where her name and picture are on the Club’s internal website, it would’ve taken months, multiple letters of recommendation and a member to sponsor her. The former employee also said an elected official getting their membership comped is almost unheard of.
Luebke still has many questions.
“Does she know that she was going to get this comped? And if she wasn’t going to get this comp’d, and didn’t submit an application to get it comp’d, then why isn’t she just going to pay the $95,000 to become a member like she would have originally planned?”
FOX 46 asked Lyles’ staff those same questions but hasn’t gotten a response.
“What do we expect from our public leaders and our public servants? Do we expect that they use their public service and their elected office to get $95,000 fees waived from elite country clubs? Do we expect them to raise their salary during a pandemic? Like what do we expect our community leaders to do? And I do not think that, you know, many of our elected officials, including the mayor here, have conducted themselves above reproach,” Luebke said.