August 8, 2022 update: Former president Donald Trump earlier today acknowledged that the FBI had searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. In a long statement, Trump said, “These are dark days for our Nation as my magnificent property, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and seized by a huge group of FBI investigators. A Thorough but Frustrating Guide to Your Questions About What the FBI Might Have Found in Donald Trump’s House. We might never know This surprise raid on my residence was not necessary or proper,” I told the relevant government officials. The FBI is still holding off on making a statement. Find out all the investigation’s specifics right here.
A history of the property is shown here, last updated during the Trump administration.
December 2019 original While Donald Trump prefers to refer to Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach club and catering facility, as the “Winter White House,” the eponymous appellation has some historical history.
The 128-room Palm Beach home owned by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post was presented to the American government in 1973 to serve as the “winter White House.” Mar-a-Lago was completed in 1927 at a cost of $7 million, which is equivalent to nearly $120 million today. Post, who later rose to become America’s richest woman and had inherited the Postum Cereal Company from her father, paid $7 million for the property.
The mansion, which is situated on 20 acres and borders Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, was created by architects Marion Sims Wyeth and Joseph Urban. (Wyeth also created the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee, Florida.)
Post left her house to the US government in her will so that the president might use it as a getaway during the warmer months. Though Mar-a-Lago had been designated a National Historic Landmark the previous year, the government gave it back to the Post Foundation in 1981 due to its high annual maintenance cost of $1 million.
along comes Donald Trump. The property reportedly rejected the mogul’s first bid of $28 million for it. He persisted nevertheless, and the market fell. Trump ultimately paid $5 million for the property in 1985, which was a relative bargain, and an extra $3 million for Post’s furnishings and antiquities.
(In addition to Mar-a-Lago, Post had a sizable real estate portfolio that included an Adirondacks retreat, a Long Island mansion, a yacht she designed that at the time was the largest privately-owned yacht, and a Washington, D.C. estate, Hillwood, that is now a house museum and contains her extensive collection of jewellery, Sèvres porcelain, Fabergé, and French masterpieces.)
In 1995, Trump converted Mar-a-Lago into a private club and added a $7 million gold-leaf-lined ballroom with 20,000 square feet of space. He took the coat of arms that the British government had given to Post’s third husband, Joseph Edward Davies, in 1939 and changed the Latin term for integrity, “Integritas,” to “Trump.” He also invested $100,000 in four sinks with gold plating. Basically, gold is everywhere—just like in his Fifth Avenue mansion. (Trump and his family reside in a private wing of the home when he is in residence.)
In 1987, Donald Trump visited Mar-a-Lago with his then-wife Ivana and staff.
At a show jumping competition in Palm Beach in 2014, Donald Trump declared, “I have 24 acres there and nobody has anything like that.” “On an acre is a large house. I am 24. It’s Palm Beach’s grand estate.” Mar-a-Lago technically occupies 20 acres.
The unofficial historian of Mar-a-Lago and former butler to Donald Trump, Anthony Senecal, revealed several mysteries to the New York Times in 2016. He said the library was “panelled with centuries-old British oak and crammed with rare first-edition books that no one in the family ever read.” Senecal (who was also under investigation by the Secret Service due to threatening remarks he made against President Barack Obama on Facebook)
Regarding his intentions for Mar-a-Lago, Trump and the residents haven’t always agreed. He has engaged in conflict with the town of Palm Beach over the size of its flag. Although Palm Beach bylaws limit flag poles to be taller than 42 feet; a violation carries a daily punishment of $250, the original, put in 2006, was on an 80-foot pole.
Trump filed a lawsuit for $25 million, alleging that his freedom of speech had been abused. In the end, he and the town reached a compromise: he changed to a smaller flag flown from a 70-foot pole. And rather than paying fines, he gave $100,000 to groups that support veterans.
He filed a second lawsuit against Palm Beach County in 2015, this time for actions he said were “deliberate and malevolent” that were taken to route departing planes over Mar-a-Lago. Since there is now a Secret Service-mandated no-fly zone over Mar-a-Lago when Trump is here, it is evident that the lawsuit was dropped after the election.
Trump allowed members who had been barred from other Palm Beach clubs, including Jews, African-Americans, and gay couples, to join Mar-a-Lago. For the right to utilise the facilities, club members reportedly used to pay an initiation fee of $100,000 as well as $14,000 in annual dues (plus taxes and a $2,000 minimum for food each year). Trump’s election caused the inauguration fee to increase to $200,000.
By all accounts, it is a successful enterprise. In 2014, Trump earned $15.6 million from the club. He earned $25.1 million in his first year in government. That sum decreased little to $21.4 million in the previous year.
Trump has been at home for 133 days thus far while in office. Early in February 2017, he made his first trip there as President of the United States for the Red Cross Ball, and the following weekend, he received Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan. He made his selection for national security advisor, Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, while at Mar-a-Lago. He also hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping for a two-day summit while there. The Government Accountability Office estimates that the taxpayers spent at least $13.6 million on four trips the president made to Mar-a-Lago in 2017.
Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, Mar-a-Lago briefly shut its doors in March. Three guests who attended the club for an event hosted by President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, one of them was the press secretary for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
The Grifter’s Club: Trump, Mar-a-Lago, and the Selling of the Presidency is an investigative account of the “Winter White House” and all business and governmental dealings that take place within its walls, both ethical and unethical, published earlier this month by a team of Miami Herald journalists. Trump reportedly barred notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein from Mar-a-Lago when the latter hit on the juvenile daughter of a member, according to one of its tales of palace intrigue.
Trump obviously feels more at home at Mar-a-Lago than virtually anywhere else, regardless of the situation. Without a doubt, he likes it over the White House. At Mar-a-Lago, he is free to be himself without being constrained by rigorous D.C. convention or disturbed by a plethora of advisers and handlers.
In comparison to, say, Manhattan, where Trump—a native New Yorker—is wildly unpopular—he also has more friends down there. He and the First Lady actually moved their principal residence from Manhattan to Palm Beach in September 2019, allegedly so he could pay less taxes and feel more at home. He gave an explanation for his choice on Twitter, writing, “I like New York, and the people of New York, and always will, but regrettably, despite the millions of dollars in annual taxes I give to the city, state, and municipal governments, I have been treated extremely poorly by both of them.”