- The Washington Times - Monday, July 16, 2007

Sheila C. Johnson, owner of the Washington Mystics and part owner of the Wizards and Capitals professional teams, is breaking into a new sport: golf.

Ms. Johnson, who also co-founded D.C.-based Black Entertainment Television with ex-husband Bob Johnson, today closed on a deal to purchase Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla., for $35 million.

Ms. Johnson’s Salamander Hospitality LLC immediately started renovations that will reach “into the millions,” she said.

“This is really one of the — once we get it back up — one of the premier golf resorts in the country,” she said.

The resort has four courses — including Copperhead, home of the PGA PODS Championship — plus meeting facilities, condos and soon, a spa.

Golf Trust of America Inc. was the seller. The former real estate investment trust has been selling its golf courses since it went out of business in 2001 and hasn’t been able to maintain the resort.

“The prior ownership has not had the ability to renovate the property and over the course of time, it has gotten a little tired,” said Prem Devadas, president of Salamander Hospitality in Middleburg, Va. “We have a great opportunity to come in and refresh it at a very high level while adding amenities.”

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