East Greenwich Golf Club members find gate locked amid rent dispute


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A sign on the gate of the East Greenwich Golf Club said “Temporarily Closed” on Saturday, April 14, 2018. (WJAR)

An East Greenwich golf course left members in the lurch when it abruptly closed.

A sign on the locked gate outside the East Greenwich Golf & Country Club said “temporarily closed.”

Some members who paid about $1,000 for the year showed up to play Saturday and were turned away without reason.

“We were a little frustrated because it was our second time coming here. We just purchased a membership — my three friends and myself — and what ended up happening is the security guard did talk to us and told us the gates were locked and on the doors. The locks were changed,” said John Papa.

The land is owned by New England Tech, which has a campus right down the street and leased the golf course to its owner.

Through court documents, NBC 10 News learned that New England Tech went to court five months ago, complaining the course was $19,000 behind in rent, which is a little more than two months’ worth.

A judge ruled last week in favor of the school’s eviction attempt, with the club now owing $40,000.

New England Tech noted in a statement only that the club closed and questions about memberships are events should be directed to the club owner.

The owner is Rob Rainville, who bought East Greenwich Country Club in 2017.

He’s been in the news in the past, as he ran for attorney general eight years ago, and four years ago for suing his former employer, Alex & Ani, for wrongful termination.

Rainville declined an on-camera interview to talk about the club closing, but told NBC 10 on the phone that it’s a misunderstanding with New England Tech, that it’s not as simple as a rent issue. He claims he’s working with the school on a resolution he hopes will have the course back open in a couple days.

Rainville also said he’s been in contact with the 60 to 70 club members who’ve already paid dues for the season and they are understanding.

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