President Trump’s neighbors in Florida are seeking to enforce a decades-old pact that Mar-a-Lago, his private social club, cannot be used as a full-time residence – as Mr. Trump has suggested he plans to do so after his departure. the White House.
Neighbors in Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday sent a letter to the city of Palm Beach and the U.S. Secret Service complaining that Mr. Trump had violated the 1993 deal he made with the city that allowed him to convert the property into a profitable club.
“Under the 1993 user agreement, Mar-a-Lago is a social club, and no one can reside on the property,” wrote Reginald Stambaugh, an attorney representing the DeMoss family, who owns a property adjacent to Mar-a-Lago.
“To avoid an embarrassing situation for everyone and to give the President time to make other living arrangements in the region, we hope you will work with his team to remind them of the parameters of the User Agreement.” , wrote Mr. Stambaugh. “Palm Beach has many estates for sale, and surely they can find one that meets their needs.”
The letter came as Mr. Trump’s term in office draws to a close and he plans to move with his wife and son to Florida following the inauguration of his successor, President-elect Joseph R. Biden. Jr., Jan.20. The New York Times reported in 2018 that Mr. Trump had changed his home 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 president’s deal with the city decades ago.
Construction has been done on the president’s residential quarters at the club, where Mr. Trump is expected to spend Christmas vacation and which Mr. Stambaugh says is already in violation of the user agreement.
A White spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr Stambaugh’s complaint, which was reported earlier by the Washington Post, and the mayor of Palm Beach and a spokeswoman for the Trump organization did not responded to e-mails seeking comment.
Glenn Zeitz, a New Jersey-based attorney who advises Mr. Stambaugh and is not paid by the DeMoss family, said the city had refused to implement aspects of the deal in the past because Mr. Trump had sought to do things like build a wharf attached to his property that the agreement forbids.
In other instances, Mr. Trump has been given leeway by the city due to legitimate security concerns. Among them, the addition of a helipad for Marine One, which will be withdrawn after its departure.
“As president, I think they gave him certain considerations which they felt were appropriate because of his status,” said Mr. Zeitz, who met Mr. Trump decades ago when he represented a client whose then casino owner was looking for ownership. an expansion of Atlantic City.
With the letter, Mr Stambaugh hopes to push the city to make it clear that Mr Trump is flouting the terms of his deal allowing him to convert the sprawling Mar-a-Lago property, once owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post, to a private one. residence in a club.
“The significant tax breaks that the President received for this arrangement remain in place, as does the User Agreement,” Mr. Stambaugh wrote. “Some press reports indicate that the renovation has already started in Mar-a-Lago in order to make the family quarters more spacious for a full-time residence.”
Part of that user agreement, which was reviewed by The Times, said no club member could stay on the property for seven consecutive days per year, and no more than 21 days per year. The club is also expected 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 these reports have not been tabled. And the club has seen an explosion in the number of members who have joined it in recent years, according to records reviewed by The Times, although it is not clear whether they replaced outgoing members.