The Anglers’ Yacht Club is facing a lawsuit accusing the organization of denying memberships to minorities and women while benefiting from a federal loan and its pennies-a-day lease of riverfront property from the city.
The lawsuit claims the 90-member club of all white men discriminates by not admitting persons of color, Jewish people or women, and that it holds “Robert E. Lee parties.”
The lawsuit was filed Jan. 13 in Volusia County Circuit Court by New Smyrna Beach real estate broker Rhonda J. Kanan.
“The Anglers has existed as an exclusive and discriminatory fishing and boating boys club through the decades,” the lawsuit states. “Persons of color, women and persons of the Jewish faith have always been excluded.”
Kanan is also suing the city of New Smyrna Beach, which has maintained a controversial 99-year lease with the Anglers allowing the club to rent 2 acres of prime waterfront land at 2 N. Causeway along the Indian River for just $25 a year.
Kanan’s lawsuit, which was assigned to Circuit Judge Kathryn Weston, asks a court to declare the leases invalid and unconstitutional. The lawsuit also asks the court to require the city to evict the Anglers Yacht Club or renegotiate the lease in the sunshine. Kanan also asked for her attorney’s fees and costs. The lawsuit states that it is for values “far in excess of $30,000,” which is the new threshold for filing a lawsuit in circuit court.