Country club sued after canceling event on Minnesota crime

The country club is now facing a breach of contract lawsuit.

Center of the American Experiment staff talk to the media outside the Rochester Golf and Country Club. (Center of the American Experiment)

The Rochester Golf and Country Club recently canceled an event on crime levels and the Minnesota criminal justice system after pressure from left-wing activists.

And they’ve been slapped with a breach of contract lawsuit as a result.

The Center of the American Experiment, a Minnesota-based think tank, said in a press release that the cancellation of the Tuesday event left “staff and around 50 attendees … standing in the parking lot after a request for a temporary restraining order was not granted in time for the lunch event to occur.”

The center didn’t learn of the planned cancellation until late Sunday afternoon, less than 48 hours before the event. Staff still traveled to the Rochester location Tuesday, hoping that the temporary restraining order would come down in time.

American Experiment blamed leftist activists for pressuring the country club with an online petition that received 90 signatures.

The event would’ve featured a panel discussion on “current crime trends, an overview of the criminal justice system, the role of key officials in fighting crime, and proven strategies to reduce crime,” according to the press release. Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson and Rochester Police Chief Jim Franklin were slated to join American Experiment’s public safety policy fellow Jeff Van Nest on the panel.

“It seemed remarkable that the club had gone out of its way to insult its own sheriff and chief of police,” John Hinderaker, president of the center, wrote at Power Line. According to Hinderaker, his organization held three events at the country club in 2021 without issue.

“We are continuing our lawsuit for breach of contract against the Rochester Golf and Country Club and have alleged damages in excess of $50,000. We are considering whether to sue the leftist who started the petition for tortious interference with contract,” he added.

American Experiment went ahead with a similar event in Owatonna on Tuesday evening, though the conservative think tank believes the Rochester Golf and Country Club owes them damages due to their “last-minute arbitrary cancellation.”

“It’s too bad the Rochester County Club couldn’t stand up for free speech today and stay true to their contract,” Hinderaker said in a statement. “The people of Olmsted County were denied the chance to hear from a great panel of experts on a really important topic. But free speech will ultimately prevail.”

Hinderaker added that the canceled event will be rescheduled at another venue “as soon as possible.”


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.