13:15 GMT08 March 2021
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    Even before former US President Donald Trump left the White House, he faced an uphill battle in Palm Beach, Florida, after residents living near Mar-a-Lago voiced their discontent over his desire to use the private club as his permanent residence. A past agreement with the city established that Trump would not use the club as a home.

    John Randolph, the town attorney for the city of Palm Beach, has sent a memo to both the town’s mayor and council members explaining that the former commander-in-chief should be allowed to live at his so-called “winter White House” permanently.

    The memorandum, which was first obtained by the Washington Post, argues that a decades-old agreement between Trump and Palm Beach officials allowing the estate to be converted into a private club does not specifically prevent The Donald from living at the club.

    While the 1993 deal allowed for the mansion to be converted into a resort, Trump, in exchange, indicated he would not use the location as a residence, but would instead be a member of the club and be entitled to use the facilities as such. The signed agreement stipulates that guests could not stay at the club for more than a total of 21 days in a year.

    Randolph noted that the agreement “did not incorporate a direct prohibition on former President Trump residing at the club, the language in the agreement pertaining only to the members’ use of guest suites."

    The Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach is seen from a window of the plane, as U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump (not pictured) travel to Palm Beach International Airport, Florida, U.S., January 20, 2021
    © REUTERS / CARLOS BARRIA
    The Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach is seen from a window of the plane, as U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump (not pictured) travel to Palm Beach International Airport, Florida, U.S., January 20, 2021
    Highlighting the city’s zoning codes, which states that employees can live at private clubs, Randolph pinpoints that Trump fits the bill since he serves as the president of Mar-a-Lago LLC, the corporation that owns the club. 

    The code cited by Randolph defines an employee as “any person generally working onsite for the establishment and includes sole proprietors, partners, limited partners, corporate officers and the like.”

    As such, Randolph concludes in the memo that Trump is considered a “bona fide employee of the club,” underscoring that the zoning regulations “permits him to reside at the club.” 

    Although the argument made by Randolph was first presented by Trump lawyer John Marion in a letter late last month, the town lawyer’s stance on the matter marks the first time that a city official has weighed in on the matter.

    The Washington Post reported that in Marion’s letter, the Trump lawyer also pointed out that the former president does not use a guest suite at the resort, but instead resides in an owner’s suite.

    City officials are expected to discuss the argument during a February 9 meeting, according to the Palm Beach Daily News. Incidentally, that’s the same day that Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is due to kick off in Washington, DC.

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    Tags:
    legal residence, residence, Florida, Mar-A-Lago, Palm Beach, White House, Donald Trump
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