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Town attorney suggests Trump could be allowed to stay at Mar-a-Lago

Issue 'hinges primarily' on whether former president considered 'bona fide employee' of private club
President Donald Trump superimposed over Mar-a-Lago Club, January 2021
Posted at 3:55 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 19:04:41-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The town attorney for Palm Beach has told council members that the residency issue regarding former President Donald Trump and his Mar-a-Lago Club hinges on whether Trump is considered to be an employee of the private resort.

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.

At issue is a 1993 declaration of use agreement between the town, Trump and Mar-a-Lago that prohibits guests from living on the property.

However, Randolph cited language in the town's code that provides an exemption for employees.

"I believe this issue, therefore, hinges primarily on whether former President Trump is a bona fide employee of the club," Randolph wrote.

John B. Marion, 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."

In his letter, Marion argued that Trump is the legal owner of Mar-a-Lago and said although the town could have specified in the agreement that Trump could not reside on the property, "it did not."

"President Trump as well as Marjorie Merriweather Post resided at Mar-a-Lago prior to its use as a private social club, and his act of residing there ever since is clearly a use completely consistent with the use of the property in the past as set forth in the application and adopted in the agreement," Marion wrote.

Ultimately, Randolph said, it will be up to the Town Council to "deliberate on this matter and determine what action, if any, should be taken."

Marion summed up his letter simply by saying that Trump, under the town's zoning law, "is clearly entitled to reside there."