President Trump may be refusing to concede that he's leaving the White House in January, but first lady Melania Trump and the Secret Service are reportedly busy preparing for his post-presidency life at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida. There may be a hitch in that plan, though: the neighbors. And thanks to legal agreements Trump signed in the 1990s, they may be able to stop him from making Mar-a-Lago his next home, The Washington Post reports.
Trump's Mar-a-Lago neighbors sent a letter to the town of Palm Beach and the Secret Service on Tuesday demanding that the town notify Trump he can't reside at Mar-a-Lago because he signed away that right in 1993, the Post reports. Telling Trump he can't use Mar-a-Lago as his residence now will "avoid an embarrassing situation" in which the former president is ordered to leave after he moves in, the letter said.
Trump converted Mar-a-Lago into a private club in 1993 because he needed the money and the estate was expensive to maintain, the Post reports, but in order to get approval for the transformation, Palm Beach made him sign an agreement that no club member could stay at Mar-a-Lago more than 21 days a year or seven consecutive days, among other restrictions. His attorney promised at the time that Trump would not live at Mar-a-Lago.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
"There's absolutely no legal theory under which he can use that property as both a residence and a club," Glenn Zeitz, a nearby Palm Beach homeowner, told the Post. "Basically he's playing a dead hand." Along with the 1993 agreement, the Post reports, Trump deeded development rights to the nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation, pledging to "forever" give up his right to develop Mar-a-Lago or use it for "any purpose other than club use."
Palm Beach has enforced the agreement sporadically, giving Trump special leeway while he served as president and frequently visited the property, but the 1993 deal could cause a special headache for the Secret Service, which strives to comply with all state and local laws in carrying out its protective duties. A Trump Organization spokesman told the Post "there is no document or agreement in place that prohibits President Trump from using Mar-a-Lago as his residence." Read more at The Washington Post.
Create an account with the same email registered to your subscription to unlock access.