Rochester Golf and Country Club sued after cancelling Center of the American Experiment event

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(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Golf and Country Club is facing a lawsuit brought by a popular Minnesota conservative think tank.

"You can’t treat people like this. You can’t just cancel an event at the last minute," said Bill Walsh, director of communication at the Center for American Experiment.

The Center of the American Experiment is suing the country club for breach of contract. The center scheduled a law enforcement forum, called Crime Crisis for March 15. However, according to the lawsuit, two days before that event, the country club told the center the event was cancelled, saying it generated controversy among club members.

"It was determined that it was not in the best interest of the club membership to hold the event. RGCC does not endorse any political position," said the Rochester Golf and Country Club in a statement.

The center says the last-minute cancellation meant they lost money and it hurt their reputation. They are also suing Erin Nystrom — a club member who started a petition that asked the country club to cancel the event.

"She’s going to be arguing that what she was doing was simply exercising her right as a member of the club to be heard. That is in some ways protected by the first amendment," said Jane Kirtley, Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota.

Nystrom said in an interview with the Star Tribune — "The suggestion that I don’t have the right to petition — the hypocrisy is too much," Nystrom said.

"She did way more than just exercise free speech rights. To say that she doesn’t like the Center of the American Experiment — that’s fine. She interfered with the contract," Walsh argued.

The center has rescheduled its crime forum for April 26, now at the Rochester Event Center.