Sunday River Golf Club memberships purchased from Harris Golf for the upcoming season will not be honored by the facility’s new operator.
Instead, Bath-based Harris Golf Inc., the developer of Sunday River Golf Club in Newry, said it will provide refunds to the roughly 30 golfers who purchased memberships before a property dispute raised questions about the award-winning golf venue’s ownership.
A judge ruled Wednesday that Harris Golf will not be managing the semiprivate course this year. Instead, the operator will be Portland-based Newry Holdings LLC, the creditor on the Sunday River Golf Club mortgage.
A lawsuit is pending in Maine’s Business and Consumer Court to determine whether Newry Holdings or Harris Golf is the club’s rightful owner.
Harris Golf has owned and operated the facility since it opened in 2005, but Newry Holdings recently took possession, citing Harris Golf’s failure to make a required mortgage payment.
Newry Holdings filed a lawsuit in January, alleging that SR Golf Holdings LLC and its parent company, Harris Golf, have refused to hand over assets such as equipment and membership fees they have collected since the property was conveyed Jan. 5 to Newry Holdings. Newry Holdings also is seeking $5.6 million in unpaid mortgage debt and property taxes plus legal fees, along with all remaining golf club assets held by SR Golf.
Harris Golf filed a counterclaim on March 7 alleging that Newry Holdings and a previous creditor, Boothbay Pool I LLC, violated a forbearance agreement that would have enabled SR Golf to use new financing to meet its financial obligations and retain ownership of the golf club.
Judge Richard Mulhern ruled Wednesday that Newry Holdings has the right to operate the club until the ownership dispute is resolved. He also ruled that Harris Golf must turn over to Newry Holdings assets in its possession associated with the club, including customer information, course equipment, computer passwords and Web domains.
Among the assets Harris Golf must turn over is information about customers who already have paid for club memberships this year. However, the ruling says that Newry Holdings is under no obligation to honor those memberships.
“Of course, anyone who wants to purchase a membership or other privileges from Newry Holdings for 2017 and beyond is free to do so, but no credit can be given for purchases from the prior owners,” Newry Holdings attorney George Marcus said Friday.
Harris Golf attorney Tom Hallett said Friday that all paid members will get their money back.
“Since it was agreed last Friday amongst the parties that Newry would operate the course in 2017, those fees will be refunded shortly,” Hallett said.
He added that customers who purchased limited-use passes valid at multiple Harris Golf properties will be able to use them at any property other than Sunday River Golf Club. The company operates seven other courses in Maine.
J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at: