Rosemary Ramirez Barbour’s firm wins in country club bidding

Published 10:07 pm Saturday, June 23, 2007

A company headed by the niece of Gov. Haley Barbour has won bidding for a country club once owned by imprisoned ex-WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers.

The company, Alcatec, is owned by Rosemary Ramirez Barbour, who is married to Hinds County Supervisor Charles Barbour, the governor’s nephew.

Rosemary Barbour said Thursday that her company bid $810,000 for the Brookhaven Country Club.

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“I think it’s great for the community,” she said.

The country club formerly owned by Ebbers includes almost 130 acres with an 18-hole golf course, eight tennis courts, a swimming pool, a clubhouse, maintenance sheds and a home.

Rosemary Barbour plans to keep the club open. Eleven jobs will be saved, she said.

The deal should close on or before July 10, said Bill Brandt, president/CEO of Chicago-based Development Specialists Inc.

Details such as whether the club will be public or private are still being worked out, Rosemary Barbour said.

“We’re hoping to grow the membership, and it will impact the community,” she said.

Brookhaven officials have said they hope the golf course continues to operate because the city is a certified retirement community and many retirees like to play golf. Also, the course provides entertainment for corporate prospects.

“I do know that it will draw people to the area,” Rosemary Barbour said.

Regarding Ebbers’ remaining assets, Brandt said his company is close to selling Ebbers’ majority interest in the large Jackson-area based trucking firm KLLM.

Ebbers, 65, was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in 2005 for his role in the accounting scandal that led to WorldCom’s collapse. He began serving his sentence in the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale, La., in September 2006.

The accounting fraud forced former Clinton-based WorldCom into bankruptcy in 2002. When it emerged from bankruptcy, it changed its name to MCI and moved its headquarters to Virginia. MCI since has been sold to Verizon.

In the settlement, Ebbers turned over all his assets except enough money to purchase a home for his wife, provide her an allowance and pay attorneys representing him during appeals.

Funds from the sale of assets go into the Ebbers’ Trust, Brandt said. Money will be distributed to the parties who sued both Ebbers and WorldCom.