President Trump’s Florida neighbors are trying to enforce a decades-old agreement that says Mar-a-Lago, his private social club, cannot be used as a full-time residence – as Mr Trump has suggested he intends to do after he has left. the White House.
Mar-a-Lago neighbors sent a letter to the city of Palm Beach and the U.S. Secret Service on Tuesday, complaining that Mr. Trump violated the 1993 agreement he made with the city that allowed him to transfer the property. turn it into a profitable club.
“Under the 1993 user agreement, Mar-a-Lago is a social club, and no one is allowed to live on the property,” wrote Reginald Stambaugh, a lawyer representing the DeMoss family, who own property next to Mar-a-Lago.
The letter came as Mr. Trump’s tenure was coming to an end, and he continues plans to move to Florida with his wife and son following the inauguration of his successor, President-elect Joseph R. Biden. Jr., on January 20. The New York Times reported in 2018 that Mr. Trump had changed his residence to Mar-a-Lago, in part for tax purposes. Almost immediately, residents of the city began to question the legality of the move, given the agreement the president made with the city decades ago.
Construction has been underway on the president’s residential areas at the club, where Mr Trump is expected to spend the Christmas holidays and which Mr Stambaugh claimed is already in violation of the user agreement.
A White House spokesman declined to comment on Mr. Stambaugh’s complaint, previously reported by The Washington Post, and the mayor of Palm Beach and a spokeswoman for the Trump organization did not respond to emails asking for comment. was asked.
Glenn Zeitz, a New Jersey attorney who advises Mr. Stambaugh and is not paid by the DeMoss family, said the city had in the past refused to enforce certain aspects of the agreement because Mr. Trump had tried to do things. such as building a dock that is attached to his property that prohibits the agreement.
In other cases, the city has been given Mr. Trump leeway over legitimate security concerns. One was the addition of a helipad for Marine One, which will be removed after its departure.
“As president, I think they gave him certain considerations that they felt were appropriate because of his status,” said Mr. Zeitz, who met Mr. Trump decades ago when he represented a client whose ownership the then casino owner wanted. an extension of Atlantic City.
With the letter, Mr. Stambaugh hopes to prompt the city to make it clear that Mr. Trump is ignoring the terms of his agreement, allowing him to convert the sprawling property of Mar-a-Lago, once owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post. from a private person. stay in a club.
“The substantial tax breaks the President received for this scheme remain in effect, as does the use agreement,” wrote Mr Stambaugh. “Some press releases indicate that renovations have already begun at Mar-a-Lago to make family stays more comfortable for a full-time stay.”
Part of that user agreement, which was revised by The Times, said that no member of the club was allowed to stay on the property seven consecutive days a year and no more than 21 days a year. The club is also believed to file affidavits with the city each year claiming that at least 50 percent of its members live or work in Palm Beach and that the club has no more than 500 members.
Some of those reports have not been submitted. And the club has seen an explosion in the number of members who have joined in recent years, according to reports reviewed by The Times, although it is not clear if they replaced departing members.