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Belmont Country Club: ‘Big Brother’ meets Big Dig

Money can buy you many things — including a $22,000 annual membership in the Belmont Country Club (plus the $65,000 joining fee) — but it can’t buy you freedom from conflict. That’s one lesson from the current brouhaha in Belmont, where the cost of a new clubhouse has rocketed from $18 million to nearly $30 million, and the members have been at each others’ throats. The story is prime gossip fodder: The TV show “Big Brother” meets the 1 percent, complete with name-calling, back-stabbing, and strings of nasty e-mails. But it’s also a cautionary tale about the limits of financial success. The clubhouse is on its third builder. The accusations of mismanagement are flying. The scope of the project has dwindled, from three swimming pools to two. And at a time when people often gripe about the cost of public works endeavors, it’s worth noting that success in the private sector doesn’t guarantee flawless oversight of construction projects, either.

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