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President of National Golf Resigns

April 24, 2002|JESUS SANCHEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

National Golf Properties Inc., which is pursuing a controversial merger with sister company American Golf Corp., on Tuesday announced the resignation of company President James Stanich.

The Santa Monica company declined to provide a reason for his resignation or say whether there are plans to replace him. Stanich, the son-in-law of National Golf founder and Chairman David Price, will remain on the board.

The Stanich resignation is part of the management shake-up that hit National Golf and American Golf after the companies' February merger announcement. This month, American Golf Co-Chief Executive Joe Guerra left after 15 years to "pursue other interests," according to a company statement. Guerra directed the firm's aggressive expansion during the 1990s.

Despite objections from some major shareholders, National Golf has agreed to acquire American Golf, which suffered a substantial drop in business in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks, a weakening economy and a glut of competing courses. American Golf leases and operates most of National Golf's nearly 140 courses. The two companies combined would form the largest owner and operator of golf courses and resorts, with more than 250 properties worldwide.

The merger is opposed by two large National Golf shareholders, Cliffwood Partners of Brentwood and investment partnerships controlled by San Francisco-based Farallon Capital Management. The firms combined own about 18% of National Golf common stock.

Cliffwood and Farallon executives have said the merger primarily benefits Price and his family, who own major stakes in National and American, at the expense of other shareholders.

National Golf shares rose 41 cents to $7.92 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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