Trump Golf Club Asks Palm Beach County for Rent Relief

June 17, 2020by Christine Stapleton, The Palm Beach Post (TNS)
President Donald Trump's golf club in West Palm Beach, Fla., has asked Palm Beach County to defer some of the $88,338 monthly rent it pays to lease public land for the president’s the private golf club, citing hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Dreamstime/TNS)

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump’s golf club in West Palm Beach has asked Palm Beach County to defer some of the $88,338 monthly rent it pays to lease public land for the president’s the private golf club, citing hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a June 5 letter to the county, the club’s finance director, Ed Raymundo, cited the “significant impact” caused by the county’s order shutting parks and golf courses during the pandemic. The March 25 order coincided with the “busiest part of our season,” Raymundo wrote.

The county and its Department of Airports, which both hold leases on Trump’s 27-hole golf club on airport property, have taken no action on the club’s request for rent relief, according to county officials. The club has paid rent through June.

Trump signed a lease with the county in 1996 and 2002, after a long and controversial lawsuit over the land. The 99-year lease agreement requires Trump to make monthly payments that had increased over the years to $54,534 for the main 18-hole golf course and $33,804 for the smaller, nine-hole course.

The Palm Beach County Commission has already agreed to defer the rent for other tenants, including cafes and coffee shops that operate at county parks and buildings.

Rent relief for tenants with more complex leases, like those Trump negotiated to build his 27-hole golf club, must be approved by the commission. According to the June 5 letter, the club is asking for rent relief similar to abatements already approved for other tenants.

The June 5 letter follows an email Raymundo sent the county on March 25 — the day the county ordered parks and golf courses closed — inquiring how the county intended to handle the $88,338 monthly rent during the pandemic.

“This mandate has resulted in the cancellation of events and forced the Club to close many of it’s (cq) amenities leaving limited services available to our members,” Raymundo wrote. “In addition, with many New York based members, the Governor’s most recent order requiring individuals traveling from the tri-state area to self-quarantine further hampers our operation. Your direction in this is greatly appreciated.”

Of the three golf clubs Trump owns in South Florida, including Trump National Doral and Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, the golf club in West Palm Beach is by far the one the president frequents the most.

Just a few miles from Mar-a-Lago, Trump has spent 83 of the 127 days he has visited Mar-a-Lago as president at Trump International. Trump hosts his annual Super Bowl party at the club and has played there with golf legends, political allies and White House aides.

Trump’s businesses — mostly real estate, hotels, branding, resorts and golf clubs — are among the industries that have been hit hardest.

Trump’s empire was already suffering from a tarnished brand before coronavirus surfaced in the U.S. in January. By early April, Forbes estimated Trump’s $3.1 billion net worth had dropped by $1 billion.

As thousands of hotel rooms remained empty, big-ticket events and campaign fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago and the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., were canceled. At Trump’s businesses in Florida, the Trump Doral resort and golf clubs in West Palm Beach and Jupiter, more than 1,000 workers have been laid off.

Penny pinching at Trump hotels included eliminating flowers, chocolates and newspapers at its New York hotel and lights out in common areas in its Chicago hotel to save on electricity, according to letters obtained by the Washington Post that hotel management sent to investors.

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©2020 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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