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No decision on former President Donald Trump's residency at Mar-a-Lago

Agreement hinges on whether Trump is considered an employee of resort
Palm Beach police expect President Donald Trump to arrive in South Florida on Jan. 20, 2021
Posted at 2:53 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 18:14:14-05

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Officials in Palm Beach on Tuesday addressed a 1993 agreement that Donald Trump made with the town regarding his residency Mar-a-Lago.

The controversy surrounds whether or not the former president can make the club his permanent home.

The town's council heard from lawyers on both sides as Palm Beach considers the legality of the agreement signed by Trump, which essentially says any guests could not stay longer than three weeks a year.

"This issue has generated great public interest resulting in hundreds of citizens' communications. I receive several every day," said Palm Beach Town Manager Kirk Blouin.

The meeting began at 9:30 a.m., but the issue of Mar-a-Lago and Trump's residence was not addressed until after 4 p.m.

"They know this is what you’re waiting for. They could have done it first thing in the morning, but they want to make the media sit and wait all day for it," said author Laurence Leamer.

Leamer wrote a book titled "Mar-A-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump's Presidential Palace" in 2019.

"It’s not even a fight. It's just nothing. He's going to stay there. What if they turn him down, and he can't stay there? He's got two houses right outside the gate. He can stay there and go to Mar-a-Lago every day. It's not a fight," Leamer said.

Town Attorney John C. Randolph recently sent a memorandum to Mayor Gail Coniglio and the Town Council recommending that they hear presentations from Trump, Mar-a-Lago, their representatives and nearby residents before making a decision.

A West Palm Beach attorney who represents Trump and Mar-a-Lago, wrote a Jan. 28 letter to Randolph detailing why any claim that Trump doesn't have a right to live there "has absolutely no merit."

Randolph told the council that Trump can likely stay if he is considered a bona fide employee.

Trump is the club's owner and enjoys the role of host and promoter, his attorney told the council Tuesday.

"This is a debate that I think is silly, to be honest with you. The documents themselves described what would happen with this club. It would be used as it had been used in the past, and it had been used in the past as a residence," said Trump attorney John Marion.

Some Palm Beach residents have objected to calling on the town to enforce the agreement, worried about traffic, security and property values.

"This agreement assured my clients they would be able to live peacefully and enjoy the privacy afforded others on the island, regrettably this has not been the case due to numerable violations over the decades," said attorney Reginald Stambaugh.

No resolution on the matter was decided Tuesday.