Trump’s Mar-a-Lago helipad to be demolished as he battles to secure right to live there

Removal of fixture will cost around $15,000 to complete

James Crump@thejamescrump
Thursday 04 February 2021 22:05
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A helipad at former US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida is set to be demolished, as Palm Beach concludes its legal review of his permanent residency at the resort.

A permit was pulled on Tuesday to tear down the helipad at the club, which was installed in 2017 for Mr Trump to use during his time as president, according to the Palm Beach Daily News.

It is unclear how long it will take for the helipad to be demolished, but it is estimated that its removal will cost around $15,000 (£10,959).

Palm Beach does not allow helipads in its town, but made an exception when Mr Trump became president, after it was argued that his frequent trips to the club would cause less traffic problems if he travelled by air.

Despite the helipad being built, Mr Trump often preferred to travel to Mar-a-Lago by car to wave at his supporters on route to his club.

Town manager Kirk Blouin said that the decision was not made due to Mr Trump’s recent controversies, and revealed that the resort never had any plans to keep the helipad once he was no longer president.

“It seems to have been more controversial in media reports than it is in actual practice,” Mr Blouin said. “They never made a request to keep it,” he added.

The permit to tear down the helipad was granted just one day before Palm Beach concluded its legal review of Mr Trump’s plans to make Mar-a-Lago his permanent residence.

Mr Trump moved to his Florida club after leaving the White House on 20 January, but several local residents argued that he was not able to make it his residence because of an agreement he signed in 1993.

The residents claimed that a “special exception use” permit granted to allow Mr Trump to convert the property into a for-profit club prevented anyone from staying there for longer than a week or more than three times a year.

However, after completing a legal review on behalf of Palm Beach on Tuesday, the town attorney John "Skip" Randolph said that the agreement does not prohibit Mr Trump from living there.

In a memo posted on the town’s website, Mr Randolph said that local regulations would allow employees to reside at the property.

Mr Randolph wrote that the decision on whether Mr Trump can stay at Mar-a-Lago “hinges primarily on whether former President Trump is a bona fide employee of the Club.”

He added: “If he is a bona fide employee of the Club, absent a specific restriction prohibiting former President Trump from residing at the Club, it appears the Zoning Code permits him to reside at the Club.”

A letter from Mr Trump’s attorney to Mr Randolph last month argued that the former president is a bona fide employee of the club and is “clearly entitled to reside there.”

The attorney recommended that the town council hear arguments from the interested parties in the dispute, including Mr Trump, to debate the issue further.

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