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Sarasota Commissioner Arroyo accused of park golf conflict of interest

A resident tells city commissioners that Erik Arroyo's role as a registered agent for Park Golf Entertainment should disqualify him from future Ken Thompson Park talks.

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A Sarasota city commissioner has been accused of having a conflict of interest with regard to a privately initiated proposal to partner with the city to renovate Ken Thompson Park on City Island and to include a signature park golf course on a portion of the 25 acres there.

During the public comments portion of Monday’s City Commission meeting, Rob Grant said Commissioner Erik Arroyo is listed as the registered agent for Park Golf Entertainment — formerly Ride Entertainment — and Park Golf Entertainment Orlando. Park Golf Entertainment owners and brothers, Jeffrey and David Koffman, have proposed the public-private partnership to activate Ken Thompson Park.

Sarasota City Commissioner Erik Arroyo.
Courtesy image

Grant suggested commissioners reconsider their approval to allow an advisory board to vet the proposal and make a recommendation to the city.

“As we know a 3-2 vote with Commissioner Arroyo’s support advanced this proposal for consideration at the April 18 meeting of the Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection advisory board,” Grant said.

According to state records, the listed contact for both park golf entities is Gregory Stoeckle with an address at 4500 Carmichael Ave. in Sarasota. That address is the warehouse for Florida Design Works, a kitchen and bath company owned by the Koffmans. Arroyo is listed as the registered agent for both park golf companies.

A registered agent is an individual selected by a business to receive tax and legal related communications from the state of incorporation. Both limited liability companies and corporations are required to designate a registered agent.

“For me and others that just learned about this there's a real perception problem,” Grant said. “We have a lot of questions and concerns about the process, and I guess my questions are for the city attorney. Should Commissioner Arroyo have disclosed this conflict in the backup materials or at least at the meeting? Does Commissioner Arroyo’s role as registered agent which I assume involves a service fee create financial conflicts that require recusal on proposals?”

Fournier is not permitted to address questions during public comments and he made no remarks during officers and commissioners comments at the end of the day. Arroyo told the Observer that he will defer to Fournier to advise him of any conflict of interest should there be future consideration of the proposal. He did comment later in the meeting that, if a conflict exists, he will recuse himself from any votes regarding Park Golf Entertainment.

“I want to make it clear that my role as registered agent for the marketing company and its Orlando branch is purely administrative,” Arroyo said. “Our office receives official mail and forwards it, something we routinely do for other companies. I have no operational or financial stake in these companies. I've since learned that Ride Entertainment may either change its name or do business with another entity that I've learned my law firm acts as a registered agent for. 

“For clarity, there is no overlap of ownership between Ride Entertainment and the company that is proposing the partnership with them.”

During a previous interview, the Koffman brothers told the Observer that they are rebranding Ride Entertainment to Park Golf Entertainment.

Articles of incorporation for Park Golf Entertainment were filed with the state on Jan. 27, 2023. Park Golf Entertainment Orlando was officially formed Jan. 29, 2024. The company is currently building a park golf facility in the Orlando area.



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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