NewsMarch 15, 2017

Bizarre battle over premier country club takes an ugly turn

A week ago we relayed a story from the Portland Herald Press about a bizarre battle over one of New England's premier country clubs. A group called Harris Golf was marketing and selling memberships to Sunday River Golf Club, listed third in the Golf Digest Best in State: Maine rankings. One problem: Harris Golf no longer owns the property, as it had been seized by creditor Newry Holdings. In a lawsuit, Newry is seeking $5.6 million in unpaid mortgage debt plus legal fees, and claims Harris Golf and SR Golf Holdings LLC have refused to give assets such as equipment and membership fees they have collected since Sunday River was conveyed in January. For their part, Harris and SR Golf claim the deed was improperly executed, and the course still belongs to them.

However, this legal battle has taken an ugly turn. According to J. Craig Anderson of the Herald Press, Newry filed an emergency motion saying that Jeff Harris of Harris Golf and others forced their way into Sunday River on Friday night to remove items such as GPS units, computers, golf carts and tables.

"Defendants’ conduct is unlawful, likely criminal, and the court should not tolerate this kind of conduct from anyone, let alone a party represented by counsel who voluntarily submitted the matter to the jurisdiction of the court for resolution," reads the motion.

Representatives for Harris counter that the group was merely taking what was theirs.

The ownership dilemma has created ambiguity for Sunday River members who have already paid their dues for the 2017 season. Though Newry says it plans to run the property as a golf operation, it has said it will not honor the memberships sold if the fees, held by Harris, are not handed over.


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