Most stories feature at least one likable character the audience can root for, or at the very least, a character who offers a sliver of relatability. This one, however, involves a cast of antagonists, embroiled in an outlandish country club drama. In one corner, we have alleged scammers Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli; in the other corner, we have the divided members of their ritzy golf club; and coming out of the woodwork, we have one of that club’s former presidents, a self-described “gentleman by act of Congress” with a strongly worded letter clutched in his steaming fist. Why is he so mad, you ask? Please, allow me to explain.
In May, Loughlin and Giannulli — Full House’s Aunt Becky and the ruler of a Target T-shirt empire, respectively — finally pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, more than a year after the Justice Department busted them in the college admissions scandal. Federal investigators alleged that the Loughlin-Giannullis bought their daughters sham athletic portfolios in the hopes of getting them into USC, which Loughlin spent months insisting was not fraud but a “huge misunderstanding.” As other implicated parents began receiving jail sentences, though, Loughlin seems finally to have read the writing on the wall.
But at no point did she and Giannulli recuse themselves as members of the Bel-Air Country Club, entry into which costs “well over” $100,000, according to Vanity Fair. On June 1, the board voted to suspend the couple’s membership until their sentences (two months in federal prison for Loughlin, five months for Giannulli, and $400,000 in combined fines) have been served. TMZ reports that this decision outraged past president Michael E. Gallagher, who hit the board with a lengthy letter on June 6. In it, he complains that — although some members seem to feel “that white collar crime does not count” as serious crime — the Loughlin-Giannullis have already “besmirch[ed] the reputation of the Club,” reducing it to a “laughingstock” within “the golfing world, domestically and internationally.” He continued:
Will we any longer be able to deny membership to convicted felons sponsored for membership? If the denial is based on the candidate’s felony conviction the answer would now appear to be no. Will the Club now be perceived as one that welcomes felons? Undeniably, the answer to that question is now yes.
Let me point out the obvious. BACC is a Club of gentlemen and gentlewomen. Gentlemen are not felons, and felons in turn are not gentlemen. You cannot be a member in good standing and guilty of a felony at the same time, it is a non sequitur.
Concluding that “this board decision … forces acceptance of felons upon the membership — grata catalla felonum,” Gallagher announced his intention to resign. It’s a wild fight to pick, especially right now — months into an ongoing pandemic that has claimed over half a million lives globally, and economically devastated millions; amid sustained protests against systemic racism and police brutality — but ultimately, Gallagher got his way: According to TMZ, Loughlin and Giannulli have now resigned, not wanting to deepen the rift between club members. How considerate.