June 22, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Exclusive Westside Country Club Receives Multimillion-Dollar PPP Loan While Collecting Full Dues

$2.5 to $5 million Paycheck Protection Program loan goes to Riviera Country Club

By Sam Catanzaro

An exclusive Pacific Palisades country club–who counts among its celebrity members the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury–received a multimillion-dollar small business loan from the federal government while allegedly laying off employees and still collecting full dues from its members despite being closed due to COVID-19.

On Monday, July, 6 the Trump Administration released data showing all recipients of loans through the $669-billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Riviera Country Club, located at 250 Capri Drive in Pacific Palisades, is the only country club in the City of Los Angeles to receive a PPP loan. According to records, Riviera’s loan was between $2.5 to $5 million. In addition, records show Bel-Air Bay Club, also in Pacific Palisades but considered a beach club, received a loan of the same range while collecting dues, according to a source.

Multiple sources have confirmed that U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin is among Riviera Country Club’s current members along with Larry David–who raised over $150,000 for caddies–Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler and Luke Wilson. Former members include Walt Disney, Dean Martin and Howard Hughes
 
Despite applying for and accepting the loan, during its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Riviera Country Club collected full dues from its members as confirmed by three members of the club who wish to remain anonymous fearing retaliation from the club. According to one of these members, these dues range from $400 to $1,100 a month. In addition, a member says that after the club was shut down every member was charged an activity fee.

“It is shocking to get your members to pay full dues and you still need to apply for a loan and you know you are charging this bogus activity fee that was just another line item for them to receive,” a member said. “The second they told us ‘we are looking at protecting our employees and not laying them off so therefore we [members] have to pay full dues’. I knew that was just an excuse. I knew that the second we came back we are going to see employees gone. The fact that they accessed this PPP loan is of no surprise to me. The fact that they were able to get it is a bigger surprise to me.”

According to a member, most Riviera Country Club members were under the impression that the club would not be applying for a PPP loan, saying multiple employees verbally stated that the club would not be getting a loan. In addition, a member told the Santa Monica Mirror that at the beginning of April some members received an email saying that they were paying full dues in order to keep employees on the payroll. A member, however, says that this does not seem to be the case.

“It’s the principle that is the problem,” the member said. “I care about the fact that they are charging us full dues and this activity fee and they are promising they are not going to lay off our employees and we get back and half the employees I don’t see anymore. So where are those guys?”

When asked what they hope the club’s response should be, members say that the club should prove that they actually needed it for the reasons the PPP was created, which was primarily for employees so they don’t lose their jobs and for businesses to be able to continue once they reopen.

“I am not sitting here being the judge or jury here, they just need to follow whatever the requirements of the PPP loan are. If they qualify for it, then they qualify for it, but they need to prove financials. The problem with a private club is they get to do everything in a black box. Nobody knows what they are doing,” a member said.

The Santa Monica Mirror has reached out to Riviera Country Club multiple times with questions and for comment but has not received a response at the time of publishing. Bel-Air Bay Club has also not responded to a request for comment.

Members acknowledged that while closed the club had to maintain the grass on the golf course, Riviera likely had little overhead from the tennis side.

“The tennis courts have literally no maintenance. Every few years they have to resurface them. So when they closed for the pandemic, they literally removed the water fountains off the courts so they didn’t I think have electricity running,” a member said. “So from the tennis side, even though their revenue may have gone down and they are paying employees’ salaries, they did not have additional overhead to cover either.” 

While Riviera was the only country club in Los Angeles to receive a loan, several other golf and tennis clubs outside the city in Southern California were approved for PPP loans. With the exception of La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, Toscana Country Club and Claremont Tennis Club, none of the other clubs received loans more than $1,000,000. Other loan recipients, as detailed in the chart below, include Palm Springs Tennis Club, Glendale’s Chevy Chase Country Club and San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club.

Southern California Country, Tennis and Golf Clubs Receiving PPP Loans

ClubCityLoan Amount
Riviera Country ClubLos Angeles$2M-$5M
Bel-Air Bay ClubLos Angeles$2M-$5M
La Jolla Beach & Tennis ClubLa Jolla$2M-$5M
Toscana Country ClubIndian Wells$1M-$2M
Claremont Tennis ClubClaremont$1M-$2M
Palm Springs Tennis ClubPalms Springs$350K-$1M
Alta Vista Country ClubPlacentia$350K-$1M
Altadena Town & Country ClubAltadena$350K-$1M
Andalusia Country ClubLa Quinta$350K-$1M
Glendora Country ClubGlendora$350K-$1M
Chevy Chase Country ClubGlendale$150K-$350K
Desert Falls Country ClubPalm Desert$150K-$350K
Indian Palms Country Club & ResortIndio$150K-$350K
San Diego Tennis Racquet ClubSan Diego$150K-$350K
West End Racquet & Health ClubTorrance$150K-$350K
Pierpont Racquet ClubVentura$150K-$350K
South End Racquet & Health ClubTorrance$150K-$350K

Data: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses/sba-paycheck-protection-program-loan-level-data

Riviera Country Club and Mnuchin have both made local headlines in recent months. In May, Riviera was shut down by the Los Angeles City Attorney for opening in violation of stay at home orders. Also in May Mnuchin made headlines when Brentwood School–where Mnuchin’s children allegedly attend–received and then returned a PPP loan.

Related Posts

Two Suspects Arrested in Connection to Downtown Santa Monica Shooting

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

Man wounded following Monday evening incident By Sam Catanzaro Two suspects have been arrested in connection to a Monday evening...

Santa Monica Expected to Confirm Contract for New Interim City Manager

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

Former City Manager John Jalili expected assume interim post Friday  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica lawmakers are expected to approve...

Free Lunches Provided to School Aged Children at Virginia Ave Park: Santa Monica Beat – June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Free Lunches Provided to School Aged Children at Virginia Ave Park...

No Injuries Reported After Metro Train Collides With Vehicle in Santa Monica

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

A Metro E Line train collided with a car in Santa Monica Monday morning.  According to the Santa Monica Police...

Santa Monica Aligns Mask Orders with LA County

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

On June 15, Interim City Manager Lane Dilg signed the 37th supplement to align Santa Monica’s local emergency provisions with Los Angeles County...

Former Santa Monica Resident Sentenced to Federal Prison for Embezzling More Than $22 Million from Employer

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

A former executive at a Hollywood-based digital marketing company that represents influencers on Instagram and YouTube was sentenced recently to...

Edify TV: Tourism Returning to Santa Monica?

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

A busy Memorial Day weekend in which Santa Monica hotel occupancy rates reached their highest levels since the pandemic began...

Santa Monica College Cancels Fireworks Show, Main Street Parade Also Off

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

Firework shows in Marina del Rey and Pacific Palisades back this year By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) has...

Summer Safety Tips When Hiking and Biking Outdoors

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

LAFD Captain Erik Scott gives us tips on staying safe while enjoying the mountains this summer. Brought to you by...

Crossroads Wins CIF and State Regionals

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

The Crossroads Varsity Boys Soccer Team had a stellar championship season starting with a true underdog story with CIF Division 6 Playoff...

Edify TV: Closing Expo Line Bike Path Gap?

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

Plans are in the works to close a frustrating gap in the Expo Line Bike Path. Learn more in this...

Markedly Different Reactions to Sheriff’s Plan to Clear Boardwalk Encampments

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

Plan to clear Boardwalk by Fourth of July met with applause, condemnation By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex...

Edify TV: Westside Vandalism Suspect Arrested

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

A man has been arrested in connection with a series of Westside vandalisms in West L.A., including at a local...