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Foursome can tee up and play through again

Four golfers kicked out of the Beacon Woods Golf Club can walk the links once again after Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Lowell Bray issued an injunction against their expulsions Tuesday.

Gladys Meservey, Clint Thaxton, Tom Caputi and Frank Massarelli had protested new fees at the course and started a petition calling for the elimination of staff positions instead. Several members of the club who signed the petition later complained, saying that the people behind the drive had misrepresented the issues.

For that, the club's board of directors revoked the foursome's memberships in July 2003 and refunded their $4,000 membership fees. A fifth member of the petition drive, Russ Smith, was suspended for three months.

The issue became more contentious in August when club officials called the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, claiming Meservey, after her expulsion, was playing golf and thereby trespassing on club property.

The four have now filed suit, claiming the board of directors did not follow its bylaws when booting them from the club. Those issues remain to be resolved.

In the meantime, Bray said he wasn't making any decisions on the charges and countercharges of misconduct or the grounds for expulsion. But Bray found that the board of directors failed to follow their bylaws by not giving proper notice of the pending expulsions.

The attorney for the four, Daniel Harris, argued that his clients have a property interest in the club and have suffered irreparable harm by not being able to play at Beacon Woods.

Michael Archibald, the attorney for Beacon Woods Golf Club, said the court has no jurisdiction in this case, as it is a private club.

"They certainly have not suffered irreparable harm by not being able to play on a certain golf course," he added.

After the hearing, Meservey said she intended to reserve a tee time for today.

_ Richard Raeke covers courts in west Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6236, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6236. His e-mail address is rraekesptimes.com.

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