PALM BEACH, Fla. - When Donald Trump walks into a room, there's no question he dominates it.
"Oh, what a group," he shouts to the crowd.
Whether he's in his Mar-a-Lago home, a Boca Raton Tea Party event, hosting a fundraiser or at the helm of his reality show The Apprentice, he's the center of attention.
He's known for his "You're Fired" comments, but what kind of impact has he made in our area?
Trump moved to Palm Beach in 1985 after buying Mar-a-Lago, the mansion owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post. She had willed it to the federal government as a presidential retreat, but the offer was declined.
When Trump bought it, its condition was deteriorating. It was facing the wrecking ball.
"I had a demolition contract when I took it over," Trump recently told me. "A lot of people don't know this; the first check I signed was to a demolition company to terminate the demolition. Then I said 'Now what do I do?' and ultimately I made into the Mar-a-Lago club."
Carey O'Donnell, the owner of a West Palm Beach public relations firm, says what Trump did with Mar-a-Lago makes him a good neighbor.
"Say what you will about this guy, this guy saved it. He invested the money too. He did a meticulous historic restoration and then preserved it and maintained it all these years at just an enormous cost."
The heart and the centerpiece of Mar-a-Lago is a 22-thousand square foot ballroom that Trump had built in 2004. Since then it has become a magnet for fundraisers for a variety of charitable organizations.
"He does have a big heart," said Stacey Dowdle, of the American Heart Association. "He includes the entire town's footprint of philanthropy by opening the doors of his house."
It's a win-win for Trump; he's proud of his home and enjoys opening it up for good causes.
"I love the fact that the Palm Beaches are very charitable. I mean they love going to the balls and they love raising money for different charities," said Trump. "Whether it's cancer or heart disease or AIDS or so many other problems out in the world, we have raised many millions of dollars at Mar-a-Lago for different charities."
But even as a part-time Palm Beach resident, it hasn't all been a bed of roses for Trump.
He sued Palm Beach for $25-million because it ruled his flagpole was too big and too close to the ocean.
"They settled it," said O'Donnell. "They settled it quietly but not without a lot of verbal and legal fisticuffs."
Then there is Palm Beach International Airport, a long-time thorn in Trump's side. Mar-a-Lago is under its flight path. He has sued to block a planned runway expansion fearing more and bigger planes. It's working its way through the legal system. Another court hearing is set for this summer.
Trump's biggest impact on our area is, unquestionably, Mar-a-Lago. It's a place he uses as a weekend getaway and to keep in touch with what's going on.
"Well, there are a lot of challenges, Jim," he told me. "I mean the world is a different place, the country's a different place, the country's not doing well."
Now for Trump the question is... does he want to jump into politics to try to make a difference?
WEB EXTRA: Watch the video player to the left to take an exclusive tour of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate with Trump himself.
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