Dana Fry vividly remembers the moment Buddy Reed, one of the three founding owners of the Fieldstone Golf Club, drove up to him in a maintenance vehicle on Sept. 17, 1998. The club grounds were buzzing about a launch party for new and prospective members at the ultra-exclusive facility.
“Get in,” Reed said to Fry, co-founder of Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design in Dublin, Ohio. Fry, who was the architect of the Greenville, Delaware-based course, was confused. After all, this was an important event and the two should be mingling with the guests, whom they wanted to fork over the hefty initiation fee.
“Get in,” Reed repeated. “We’ve got to get away because the sh*t is going to hit the fan.”
Fry was still baffled but did as he was told. The pair drove up to the second fairway, which gave them a good vantage point to view the party, which was held in a large tent next to the house that was being used as Fieldstone’s temporary office.
Within 15 minutes, several black cars pulled up and six or eight men in dark suits stepped out, some with handguns drawn. Fry would soon learn they were FBI agents. “It was like something you see in the movies,” he says.
A little over an hour later, a handcuffed Christopher Moseley was led out the front door of the building to one of the cars. He had just confessed to masterminding and bankrolling the murder of one of his stepsons’ girlfriends, a woman with a drug problem named Pati Margello. She had been beaten and strangled to death in a seedy motel room on the Las Vegas Strip.
The crime made national news. Moseley’s stepson was Dean MacGuigan, who had a substance abuse issue as bad as Margello’s. It was because of MacGuigan’s mother, Lisa Dean Moseley, that the crime made the national news. Lisa was born a wealthy woman: She was a DuPont on her mother’s side of the family. A chain-smoker for much of her life, Lisa was a talented golfer in her day, the former women’s champion at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, New York.
Christopher was her third husband, a retired U.S. Army communications specialist who Lisa met when she hired him to be her gardener.
It was her son Dean who came up with the idea to turn a large portion of the family’s land in Delaware into a golf course, and Christopher represented the family during the planning and construction of Fieldstone, which had two other owners.
“It was bizarre, I can tell you that,” Fry says of his reaction when the murder story came to light. “He’d sit in on all the meetings. I got to know him pretty well.”
He only met Dean, who testified against his stepfather and was never a suspect in the crime, on a couple of occasions, however, and barely remembers him.
Asked to describe Christopher, Fry took some time to find the appropriate answer.
“He seemed a little different,” he says. “He didn’t seem like a guy who would have someone killed.”
Shortly after the conviction of her husband, Lisa bought out the other Fieldstone partners.
Lightning strikes again
Reed and Fry still occasionally see each other, since both are members at the Fry-designed Calusa Pines Golf Club in Naples, Florida.
You’d be hard-pressed to find an architect who can match Fry’s tale, in which a person integral to the development of a golf course is involved with a murder during the project. But that’s not the only strange tale in Fry’s history.
Eight years after the Margello slaying, Steve Trattner – general manager of Erin Hills in Hartford, Wisconsin, when it was under construction – beat and strangled his wife to death after she told him she wanted a divorce. At the time of the slaying, their two young children were sleeping upstairs.
Trattner, whom Fry described as the 110-pound weakling who got beat up by the tough guys in the old comic-book ads, covered his wife’s body with blankets and sheets. The next morning, he turned himself in to the police.
Trattner might have been a confessed murderer, but he’s also the reason that the world’s best golfers traveled to Wisconsin earlier this year. “Without him, there would be no Erin Hills and U.S. Open,” Fry said by phone in June.
“I just could not fathom it,” Fry says when he was first told of the crime. “In your life, that guy wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Believe it or not, Fry has yet another macabre story in his past: The owner of a course he designed committed suicide on the layout.
But that’s a tale for another day.
Anthony Pioppi has covered several murder trials for daily newspapers and is the co-author of “Haunted Golf.”