Konocti Harbor is a resort and music venue in Kelseyville, California. It is situated at the base of Mount Konocti on the south shore of Clear Lake, the largest freshwater lake interior to California. Its amenities include a spa, a miniature golf course, a marina, and two Olympic-size swimming pools.
The resort was founded in 1959 by Joseph Mazzola, president of United Association Local 38, a union of Northern California plumbers. The intention behind the formation of the resort was to provide low-cost vacation housing for union members.
In 1982, a federal judge took control of the pension fund of the union, which owned Konocti Harbor, over allegations of financial improprieties involving the resort; in 2004, the U.S. Department of Labor again sued the union, alleging that $36 million of pension funds had been improperly diverted to the resort. Mazzola died in 1989, in a car crash near the resort, but the Mazzola family continues to own much of the land surrounding the resort.
In 1990, Greg Bennett was hired as the general manager of Konocti Harbor. He renovated the resort and turned it into a concert venue. Bennett eventually expanded his concert hall, the Joe Mazzola Showroom, from 350 seats to 1000; Performance Magazine called it "the best small concert venue in the country". As the resort's concert business expanded, Bennett also added outdoor concerts in a 5000-seat converted softball field.
Konocti Harbor became one of the biggest employers in Lake County, employing up to 700 workers, but as of 2007 it was unprofitable, and the Lake County supervisors denied a request to convert it into a casino. Its owners attempted to sell it, but were unsuccessful. In late 2009 WhiteStar Advisors, the management company that had been hired by the court, announced that Konocti Harbor would be shut down "temporarily but indefinitely". The closure seriously damaged the local tourist economy, already hard-hit by the global economic downturn.
Possible Sale and Reopening
On September 5th, 2013 it was reported by a local newspaper that a sale of Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa was in the works by Resort Equities. The company plans to reopen the resort and make significant upgrades, including a "small waterside bar and grill at the northern terminus of the promenade, improving the functionality of the clubhouse with a port cochere and arrival court as well as creating new indoor/outdoor public spaces at the lakeside, expanding the number of concert parking spaces located onsite, and concentrating them in closer proximity to the amphitheater, relocating the boat yard building for repair and storage of watercraft away from the shoreline to a less strategic location on the property, improving the amphitheater facility with structural repairs where needed, new concession stands and landscaping, bringing the existing resort buildings into compliance with current ADA, life safety, seismic resistance and energy conservation codes, upgrading the landscaping, fountains, entrance gates and other site improvements (driveways, sidewalks, curbs, retaining walls, lighting and signage) to contemporary standards and creating a small vineyard and wine tasting pavilion on the site of an existing parking lot." In May of 2014 it was announced that the group which was attempting to purchase the resort had failed to obtain the necessary financing.
- DeFao, Janine (March 20, 2008), "Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa", San Francisco Chronicle.
- Selvin, Joel (July 18, 2002), "Rocking the lake / Konocti Harbor comes of age as music venue", San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Joseph Mazzola; Chief of S.F. Plumbers Union", Los Angeles Times, August 15, 1989.
- Vigil, Delfin (June 18, 2006), "Greetings From Konocti Harbor", San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Feds Sue Plumber's Union Over Konocti Harbor", KRXI-TV, November 27, 2004.
- Smith, Matt (February 14, 2007), "Harboring a Land Bonanza: Do union members know their boss stands to benefit from turning their pension fund investment into a gambling casino?", SFWeekly.
- "Konocti Harbor provides prime cuts in shows, accommodation and dinner", Contra Costa Times, July 8, 1995.
- Delsol, Christine (June 9, 2002), "Clear Lake A summer place / Popsicle-melting-nights and old-time cottages on the shore", San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa to close Nov. 10", Newsday, September 10, 2009.
- "Lake County fears loss of 700 jobs if Konocti resort closes", Sacramento Bee, September 11, 2009.
- Wilson, Elizabeth (December 17, 2007), "Konocti on the market for third time", Lake County Record-Bee.
- Halverson, Nathan (February 8, 2010), "Lake County: A community in crisis", Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.