Owner of Great Neck Country Club arrested on cocaine charges

David C. Mortimer
David C. Mortimer
Kenneth C. McNeil
Kenneth C. McNeil

Groton — Town police have arrested two Waterford men, one of whom owns the Great Neck Country Club, on cocaine-related charges.

On Feb. 2, David C. Mortimer, 57, of 59 Twin Lakes Drive, Waterford, was charged  with possession of narcotics and possession of narcotics with intent to sell while Kenneth C. McNeil, 45, of 840 Vauxhall St. Ext., Waterford, was charged with possession of narcotics and sale of narcotics.

Secretary of the State records show Mortimer and his wife, Ann, run Great Neck Country Club LLC. The pair bought the golf course at 28 Lamphere Road for $2.8 million back in 2012, after the previous owners' financial struggles left the property in the hands of Dime Bank. The Mortimers have been credited over the years with reinvigorating the club.

A message left at the country club's administrative offices was not immediately returned Monday.

Police, who just announced the arrests Monday, said a confidential informant had told them that Mortimer was supplying cocaine to exotic dancers at the Mynx Caberat in Groton, according to the arrest report.

On Feb. 2, police said they observed Mortimer’s red Hummer and another black Hummer parked next to each other in the parking lot of the Mynx and conducted surveillance. Two men were observed leaving the club and getting into the red Hummer. Police stopped the vehicle after it left the parking because the license plate did not match the vehicle.

While talking to Mortimer, who was driving the Hummer, Detective Robert Emery  wrote in his report that he noticed a small trace of cocaine under Mortimer's nostril and noted the smell of alcohol on his breath. During a pat down, police said they found a bag containing 5.3 grams of cocaine in his front pocket. Police said Mortimer was carrying $3,035 and they found another $4,000 in the front console of his Hummer.

Mortimer denied selling cocaine and was adament he had purchased $400 worth of cocaine from McNeil and paid in $100 bills. McNeil, who was a passenger in the Hummer, denied the accusation but had four $100 bills in his pocket, police said.

Police said they discovered a bag containing cocaine residue, along with a rolled up dollar bill with cocaine residue, in McNeil’s Hummer.

During a later interview with police, Mortimer again denied selling cocaine but did not deny “giving,” cocaine to the exotic dancers, police said. He said he had been retired for three years and had gotten “carried away,” going to the club and using cocaine to unwind, according to the report.

The report states Mortimer provided a written statement saying he purchased the cocaine from McNeil. McNeil denied selling the cocaine to Mortimer and said Mortimer already had cocaine when they met at the club. The two used the cocaine in the bathroom. He told police that Mortimer does indeed give cocaine away to dancers and others.

He said Mortimer had given him the $400.

“McNeil said Mortimer gave him the money to get dances/drinks and that Mortimer is very wealthy and normally gives him money,” states the report.

Police said that based on the way the cocaine was contained in one bag that it was likely it was for personal use.

Both of the men were released on a $2,500 nonsurety bond. They are due to appear Friday in New London Superior Court.

Norwich attorney Drzislav "Dado" Coric is representing Mortimer.

"I've known David for about 30 years, and I can guarantee you he is not a drug dealer," Coric said by phone Monday afternoon. "He is a true, legitimate success story who has given back to the community."

Coric said McNeil is a longtime friend of Mortimer, and it is not unusual for the two men to be together.

"Even though I don't represent McNeil, I would say that through my experience, he is certainly not a drug dealer either," Coric said.

McNeil was the owner of the former Club Hipnotic nightclub in downtown New London. He was charged criminally and named in a civil lawsuit after 25-year-old Mechelle Rutka died from a cocaine overdose at an after hours party at the club on July 23, 2006. Evidence was presented at the civil trial that McNeil and the club manager provided Rutka with cocaine and that after she began having seizures, the manager and bouncer delayed calling 911 and dragged her outside. McNeil was not present when Rutka  overdosed. In his criminal case, he pleaded guilty to illegal sale of alcohol and received a suspended sentence and probation.

After their Feb. 2 arrest, neither Mortimer nor McNeil was required to put up money before being released from police custody.

"In both cases, I think the non-surety bond reflects the reality of how the police view these two individuals," Coric said.

 

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