Gov. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire held a leadership role at an exclusive beach club that has been accused of anti-Jewish discrimination.
Hassan, the presumed Democratic frontrunner in the race for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R.), held several leadership roles at the Warren’s Point Beach Club in tony Little Compton, Rhode Island. From 1993 to 2000 she served as the club’s president and vice president. The club garnered headlines in 1995 when Richard Licht, the former lieutenant governor of Rhode Island, accused Warren’s Point of being anti-Semitic after his application to join the $280-per-week club was rejected.
Former club president Richard S. Humphrey said that religion played no role in the rejection.
Humphrey told the Washington Free Beacon that the accusations were "proven to be absolutely false" and now counts Licht among his great friends. Licht later served as Humphrey’s lawyer in several business transactions.
"It was probably a misunderstanding, but Richard and I have made peace and he handled it like a gentlemen. We’re great friends. He’s a good guy and a good judge," Humphrey said.
Licht, a Democrat who now serves as a judge, did not return a request for comment from the Washington Free Beacon.
Humphrey added that Hassan was not involved in the controversy, which he said was used as a political attack to undermine his nomination to a local post by Republican Gov. Lincoln Almond.
"Certainly there is no anti-Semitism at Warren’s Point," he said. "Maggie Hassan was nowhere near this…She served with distinction and without any controversy."
Hassan’s stance on Israel has become a focal point in recent weeks after her church overwhelmingly voted to join the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement aimed at hurting Israel financially.
The Democrat tweeted out her disapproval of the BDS movement, which critics say is rooted in anti-Semitism, after the Washington Free Beacon reported on the issue. She has dodged questions over the recently announced Iranian nuclear deal, as she weighs a campaign challenge against Ayotte.
The New Hampshire GOP called the history of discrimination allegations "extremely troubling."
"The allegations of anti-Semitism made by Democrat Lieutenant Governor Licht against Governor Hassan’s exclusive millionaire beach club are extremely troubling," said Jennifer Horn, the party chairman.
The club did not return a request for comment.
Horn said in a statement that Hassan should confront the issue and address the accusations of anti-Jewish bias at the club.
"As a senior member of the organization's leadership, Governor Hassan would have been in a position to investigate and address these concerns at the time they were raised. Governor Hassan should discuss what actions she took as the Vice President of this elite club to review the lieutenant governor’s complaint," Horn said.
Hassan’s family has longstanding ties to the Little Compton community, maintaining a $2.7 million beachfront estate that was constructed by Hassan’s great grandfather. The home has seven bedrooms and more than 3,300 square feet with a wrap-around porch that provides an ocean view. Vacationers can rent out the estate for $25,000 per month in the summer, more than enough to cover the nearly $16,000 in property taxes on the home.
"Several hundred yards from one of Rhode Island's prettiest beaches, the house has five premier double bedrooms and two attic bedrooms. The deck sweeps around the south and west sides of the house and expands into a 400 sq. ft. covered porch at the southwest corner," a family advertisement on Homeaway.com says. "The kitchen and bathrooms are modernized, but the rest of the house retains the turn-of-the-(last)-century feeling, including a great dining room that seats up to 16 at one table. The house can accommodate up to 14 people."
A spokesman for Hassan did not return a request for comment.
Update 9:40 A.M.: This post has been updated with comment from Richard Humphrey, the former president of Warren's Point Beach Club.