Aug 17th, 2016
Donald Trump: The $6 Million Law Suit Man
Palm Beach members banned from club after asking for money back
Words: Tim Southwell Photography: Getty Images
What do you do when your golf club gets bought by someone and they immediately renege on a condition implemented by the previous owners to underwrite the members' initiation fees in the result of new ownership? You ask for your money back right?
And when the new owner tells you 'no dice', then what do you do? You launch a $6,000,000.00 federal law suit. And this is what the 60 disgruntled members of the Trump National (formerly Ritz Carlton) in Palm Beach have done. The fella on the receiving end? Donald Trump, naturally.
The Republican presidential candidate bought the club for $5 million in 2012 and, when 'The 60' asked Trump to honour a return of their $35,000 to $210,000 initiation fees as Ritz-Carlton had promised (until new members joined), Trump said something along the lines of "whatdyathink I am, made of initiation fees?".
Then Trump does what he does best, got all Trumpy on their asses, banning the dissenters from the course while still charging them $6,000 annual fees and $1,800 annually for food and drink, according the the law suit.
Trump says that most members like the changes he has made to the membership structure.
"I can say right now members are very happy," Trump testified by video on Monday. Trump maintains that he tried to bargain with the members, telling them that if they didn't withdraw their deposits, he would lower their dues by 10 percent for three years and give them access to other clubs he owns, including nearby Mar-a-Lago.
"Many people — most people — jumped right on it," said Trump. He said the reason he has barred the dissenters from the club was because their behaviour "sends a bad message" to active members and those who resigned are "angry people" who "we don't want to be in the club."
Angry people eh? Kind of follows you around that phrase doesn't it, mister?
Attorney Brad Edwards, who represents the disaffected members said in court that Trump's decision to not return initiation fees, bill the members for dues and not allow them to use the club "is contrary to every equitable provision one could imagine."
"They are paying for an indefinite period of time for essentially nothing in return," Edwards said.
District Judge Kenneth Marra is expected to conclude the case on Wednesday.
Donald Trump is 82.