Former US president Donald Trump is facing another potential problem as he resettles into civilian life – unfriendly neighbours.
Trump has stayed relatively quiet since he boycotted Joe Biden’s inauguration and jetted off to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. As his ponders his political future and his myriad legal troubles, he has another problem to deal with.
According to CNN, the use of his social club as a private residence is subject to a legal review after locals complained he was in violation of an agreement with the local town.
When Trump turned the private residence into a social club, he had agreed to limit his stays at Mar-a-Lago.
He has been living there since leaving office on January 20, which may be a possible violation of a 1993 agreement he made with the Town of Palm Beach that limits stays to seven consecutive days.
The town of Palm Beach is looking into a matter and it was expected to be discussed at an upcoming town meeting, the Associated Press reported.
The South Florida town last month received a letter from an attorney representing a Mar-a-Lago neighbour demanding it enforce the agreement’s residency clause — something it rarely if ever did when Trump was president or prior to his trailblazing political tilt.
The unnamed neighbour believes Trump’s residency would decrease property values.
“There is no document or agreement in place that prohibits President Trump from using Mar-A-Lago as his residence,” the Trump Organisation said in a statement last month.
Trump purchased Mar-a-Lago for US$10 million in 1985 from the estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the owner of General Foods.
In the early 1990s, when several of his business ventures flopped and he was unable to afford spending millions every year on upkeep, he suggested subdividing the property and building mansions, a proposal the town rejected.
Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago club
It wasn’t until 1993 when Trump turned the estate into a private club – and with it came some strict rules.
Only 500 members were allowed to join the club, the initiation fee is now US$200,000 and annual dues are US$14,000.
For an additional charge, members can stay in a suite for up to seven consecutive days and 21 days a year, the agreement says.
Trump was to be treated like any other member of the club.
Before his reign as president it is unclear just how long he would stay at Mar-a-Lago, although author Laurence Leamer, who wrote Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace, said the stays often exceeded the limit.
During his presidency, Trump spent more than 21 days a year there, including visits of about two weeks during the Christmas holidays.
Trump clashed frequently with the town and its mostly staid residents over the club’s operation before he moved into the White House.
Neighbours complained about noise, traffic and a car lot-sized US flag and its 24-metre pole Trump erected in 2006 without the proper permits.
The two sides eventually settled: Trump got a shorter pole and his foundation gave $100,000 to veteran charities. Trump then put the pole on a mound so it would still rise to 24 meters.
Despite the public squabbles, Trump performed well in November’s election among his neighbours — in Mar-a-Lago’s precinct, he got 62 per cent of the vote.
Mar-a-Lago members reportedly leave ‘silently’
While the town mulls whether Trump can live in Mar-a-Lago or not, there have been reports several members of the club have “silently walked out” after Trump left office.
“It's a very dispirited place, Leamer told MSNBC host Alex Witt.
The author also said members weren’t too concerned with politics but the food is “no good”.
Trump has remained relatively quiet since leaving office, with his last days as president tainted by the insurrection at the Capitol.
However, he did smile for a photo alongside House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday (local time) at Mar-a-Lago, where the two reportedly had a meeting.
During the event, Trump reportedly claimed his popularity “has never been stronger than it is today”.
The details of the meeting were released by Trump’s new office, which announced the former president had “agreed to work with Leader McCarthy on helping the Republican Party to become a majority in the House”.
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