Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Neighbors: We Don’t Want You Here

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By Giselle Balido

December 16, 2020

A letter from the president’s Palm Beach neighbors says Trump needs to be notified that he cannot use the storied resort as his residence.

While President Donald Trump remains staunch in his refusal to concede that he lost the presidential election to Joe Biden and will be leaving the White House in January, Melania Trump appears to be taking a more realistic view of the situation.

Together with the Secret Service, the soon to be former first lady is reportedly making arrangements for her family’s post-presidency life at Mar-a-Lago, which in his book “The Art of the Deal,” Trump, a native New Yorker, described as “as close to paradise as I’m going to get”.

A Clear Message to Trump

But not so fast, say neighbors of the storied resort and national historic landmark in Palm Beach, Florida, that the president calls his winter home.

Neighbors of Trump in Mar-a-Lago have issued a strong, unambiguous message to its most famous resident: We don’t want you to be our neighbor.

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Delivered Tuesday morning to the town of Palm Beach and the US Secret Service, the demand letter argues that Trump lost his legal right to live at Mar-a-Lago in the early 1990s, when he signed an agreement converting the estate from his private residence into a private club.

This raises a troubling question for Trump: Can he make Mar-a-Lago his legal residence and home after the swearing-in of Joe Biden on Jan. 20?

Avoiding an “Embarrassing Situation”

The feud between Trump and neighbors of Mar-a-Lago—a palatial resort built in the 1920s by cereal-company heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post—is not new. In fact, the push and pull has been going on for many years.

During Trump’s presidency, various neighbors complained about clogged traffic and blocked streets caused by the president’s frequent trips to the club that some jokingly began to call “the weekend White House.”

But even before he was president, Trump was often at loggerheads with the town by refusing to adhere to local requirements and reneging on the promises he made when he converted Mar-a-Lago into a private club.

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Under the 1993 agreement signed by Trump, club members are banned from spending more than 21 days a year in the club’s guest suites and cannot stay there for any longer than seven consecutive days. On several occasions Trump has attempted to change parts of his agreement.

Now, those who oppose him claim there is no legal recourse under which he can use that property as both a residence and a club. And in the demand letter obtained by The Washington Post, an attorney for the Mar-a-Lago neighbors says Trump needs to be notified that he cannot use Mar-a-Lago as his residence. According to the letter, that would “avoid an embarrassing situation” if the outgoing president is later ordered to leave.

Even the Secret Service Is Involved

The current situation not only affects the Trump family, but the Secret Service as well. As a former president, the Secret Service will be in charge of protecting Trump in his private life, and agents will be installed at his property as a base of operations. However, if Trump is denied the right to live at Mar-a-Lago, the Secret Service would have to come up with new plans at a different location.

And that location, Trump neighbors say, needs to be far away from Mar-a-Lago. “Palm Beach has many lovely estates for sale, and we are confident President Trump will find one which meets his needs,” the letter states.



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