Everything is not peaches and cream for a co-founder of Edible Arrangements who said Tuesday that a chichi Connecticut country club rejected him for membership because he’s Muslim.
Businessman Kamran Farid was a temporary member of Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club in Branford for two years before being turned away when he wanted to become permanent last year.
The 38-year-old entrepreneur, who was born in Pakistan but moved to the U.S. as a toddler, said some members sent racist letters opposing his candidacy at the club, which has a $30,000 initiation fee and annual dues of roughly $8,000.
“I can’t tell you how much that bothers me,” Farid told the Daily News on Tuesday.
The high-end fruit basket tycoon said he started attending the ritzy, 500-member, waterside boat club because it is near his house and his kids like to use the pool.
A lawsuit filed last month claims members fighting his acceptance said Farid and his family “supported terrorism” and insulted him based on his race, religion, color and national origin.
Others complained in the letters to the membership board that Farid’s wife, Kara, and their three daughters would wear hijabs at the club and, if accepted, try to bring in more Muslim members.
William Murray, the club’s lawyer, told The News that the allegations are false and that the court process will reveal the true reasons Farid was rejected.
Murray said Pine Orchard does not cherry-pick, nor consider race or religion, when choosing new members, but added the response from current members regarding Farid’s family was “unprecedented and overwhelming.”
“I would never have filed a lawsuit if I thought they had a leg to stand on,” Farid responded, adding he and his family never received notice of any misbehavior.
The fruit bouquet pioneer claims a core group of members, forming an “old boys club,” solicited the letters against him from members who didn’t even know him.
Both Farid and his attorney Chris Nelson noted the exclusive establishment doesn’t have any minority members.
Farid said he is pursuing the lawsuit so that the same thing doesn’t happen to others, and that those who opposed him had “messed with someone who can afford to finally fight them.”
Members supporting the businessman started a petition for him and his family to be permanent members. The petition had 66 signatures as of Tuesday night.