Palm Beach, Florida, officials are discussing a bid to decide if former US President Donald Trump is allowed to remain living at his Mar-a-Lago resort after some of his neighbors complained that he wasn’t legally entitled to because of a decades-old agreement.
The Palm Beach Town Council held a meeting on Tuesday via video conference after a presentation on the subject from John C. Randolph, Palm Beach’s town attorney. The outcome of the meeting is yet to be disclosed.
The move came after an attorney for neighbors of Trump wrote to Palm Beach authorities last month requesting that the town council inform the former president he was not allowed to live at the resort, saying it would avoid an “embarrassing situation” in which he is evicted.
The neighbors say that a 1993 agreement converting the site from a private residence into a members’ club prevents the former president or anyone else from living there for more than three times a year for up to a week each time.
Trump has lived at the luxury resort, which he billed as his “winter White House,” since leaving office in January.
Randolph indicated in a memorandum sent last week to Palm Beach’s mayor and town council that Trump’s legal right to reside at Mar-a-Lago could hinge on whether Trump is technically employed by the club. Local laws say “a private club may provide living quarters for its bona fide employees only.”
“This issue, therefore, hinges primarily on whether former President Trump is a bona fide employee of the club,” Randolph wrote.
Randolph added in the memorandum, dated January 28, that Trump’s neighbors, their attorneys, and representatives for Trump should all be able to make presentations at the meeting.
Trump’s attorneys said the legal case had “no merit” because the 1993 usage agreement for Mar-a-Lago did not say the owner of the property could not reside there.
In a January 28 letter sent to Randolph, they said Trump had previously lived at Mar-a-Lago for extended periods without protestation from Palm Beach authorities. They added that while the agreement prevented the use of guest suites for more than three nonconsecutive weeks a year, Trump used the owner’s suite, which is not subject to the same limits.
The attorneys also insisted that Trump was an official employee at the club, given his role as club president.