Palm Beach officials are reportedly considering a petition from former President Donald Trump’s neighbors looking to bar Trump from living full time at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
The former president and his immediate family — wife Melania and son Barron — reportedly chose to move to Florida following his departure from the White House in January rather than return to Trump’s former full-time residence at the top of the Trump Tower in New York City. The family now lives at the former president’s sprawling Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago, which Trump purchased back in 1985 for $10 million.
But under terms of a 1993 agreement with local officials, Mar-a-Lago is technically no longer considered anyone’s full-time residence. The contract converted the mansion and its surrounding grounds to a members-only club, and the contract’s terms limit anyone from living there for more than a week at a time, and then for no more than three weeks in one calendar year, according to Insider.
“In 1993, Trump and the town agreed he could turn the estate into a private club. It would be limited to 500 members — the initiation fee is now $200,000 and annual dues are $14,000,” per a report from The Associated Press. “The agreement has strict restrictions on parking and noise and specifically bars Trump from operating a casino or an animal circus.”
It is not immediately clear, though, whether Trump, who owns and operates Mar-a-Lago, is considered a “member” for purposes of the agreement. Back in 1993, his lawyer reportedly told the Palm Beach town council that Trump would no longer use Mar-a-Lago as a full-time residence after signing the agreement, but Trump appears to have always considered the Trump Tower residence his primary home — at least until 2021.
Back in December, after hearing that Trump intended to relocate, a neighbor filed a complaint with the Palm Beach Town Council seeking to enforce the terms of the 1993 agreement against the former president and his family, effectively beginning a cause for eviction against Trump.
“Attorney Reginald Stambaugh sent a letter this week to the Town of Palm Beach saying he represents a neighbor who doesn’t want the president to take up residence at the 17-acre property because it would decrease the area’s property values,” the AP said. “He also asserts that a microwave security barrier operated by the Secret Service is harming his client, who he says is exhibiting symptoms of microwave exposure. He did not give the client’s name.”
The Palm Beach council is taking the matter seriously, according to the Insider.
“Palm Beach, Florida, officials will formally discuss whether former President Donald Trump is allowed to remain living at his Mar-a-Lago resort after some of his neighbors complained that he wasn’t legally entitled to because of a decades-old agreement,” the outlet reported Tuesday. “Meeting notes for the Palm Beach Town Council meeting on February 9 show officials are due to discuss the matter on Tuesday via videoconference after a presentation on the subject from John C. Randolph, Palm Beach’s town attorney.”
Trump’s attorneys have issued a letter to the town’s attorney, noting that the agreement does not explicitly say the owner of Mar-a-Lago cannot live on the property and suggesting that, if the former president’s presence at Mar-a-Lago is a problem, neighbors and members of the council should have challenged Trump’s right to reside there before now.