FARGO — Defense attorneys for the Oxbow Golf Club and a select few of its members rested their case Thursday, July 25, in an ongoing trial that alleges the club and some members damaged a former member's reputation by spreading false rumors that he used cocaine.
The lawsuit was filed by Aaron Greterman, a real estate agent, in January 2018 against the club and members Bill Short of Fargo, Britton Mattson and David Campbell, both of Horace, N.D., and Scott Differding and Roger Campbell, both of Oxbow, N.D.
Greterman is seeking more than $50,000 in damages, alleging the defendants slandered his name by claiming he used cocaine and hurt him economically by defaming him, court papers show.
In June 2017, Greterman was invited by Campbell to participate in the club’s annual Battle at the Bow golf tournament.
On June 16, 2017, during the tournament, Greterman testified he ordered an alcoholic mixed drink and pulled out a bottle of a retail product called “doTERRA Lime,” described as an essential oil that can be mixed into a drink or placed on the tongue.
Greterman testified that he mixed the essential oil into his drink, at which point Campbell asked what it was. Greterman testified that he said the oil is “like the best energy shot you’ve ever had, it’s like liquid cocaine.”
Campbell recalled that Greterman said the oil is “like cocaine, like liquid cocaine . . . you can snort it . . . you can put it in your drink,” statements Greterman denied.
Greterman was later banned from the club for "improper conduct" during the tournament weekend. The defendants maintain the conduct was regarding Greterman leg-wrestling with another individual, allegedly making off-color remarks to some club members and aggressively gambling and asking Differding for money.
Mattson and Short testified on Thursday that Greterman was not banned for cocaine allegations, and Mattson added that the topic of use was discussed by board members but discarded because they did not have proof.
Greterman admitted to leg-wrestling and that he may have made jokes, but nothing insulting. He also testified that he did ask Differding for money, but didn’t pursue it after Differding declined.
Greterman met with Short, Differding and Jay Bartley, a club member, on July 18, when he learned of his suspension.
He said the meeting ended when he was effectively told he was banned for doing cocaine at the club, something Bartley and Short denied happening on Thursday.
The defense also questioned John Anas, a club member, who said he did notice Greterman acting “loud” and “obnoxious” on the second day of the tournament on June 17, 2017, a day when Campbell did not participate.
When Greterman’s attorney, Andrew Parker, asked Anas if he heard about Greterman’s alleged cocaine use on June 17, Anas said he heard from Roger Campbell that Dave Campbell didn’t want to play because he wasn’t comfortable with what Greterman did the day before and that it possibly had to do with drugs.
The defense also presented testimony from a club staff member who said Greterman paid for the first round of drinks on June 16, 2017, with cash and that he allegedly made sexual comments to her that made her feel uncomfortable, comments she said she didn’t report to her supervisors because she didn’t view them as a threat. Greterman denied making such comments and using cash in his testimony earlier in the trial.
The defense rested its case at the close of trial on Thursday. Parker can present a rebuttal argument on Friday, July 26, or the case will go into closing arguments before being given to the jury for a decision.