In 1993 Donald Trump reached a “Usage Agreement” with Palm Beach Florida that restricted the use of Mar-A-Lago. This document appears to be a covenant. Article II, entitled “Club Use”, sets out restrictions on the use of the guest suites on the property:
The use of guest suites is limited to a maximum of three (3) non-consecutive periods of seven (7) days by a member during the year.
In general, Article II empowers Trump. Here it restricts him. In other words, a member can only live in a guest suit for three non-consecutive one-week periods. This is to prevent Mar-A-Lago from being used as a permanent home. Orangeacre is not to be used for residential purposes. (Blackacre just didn’t seem to fit here). The document was signed by President Donald J. Trump. (That is, President of the Mar-A-Lago Club, Inc.).
President Trump has announced that he will live in Mar-A-Lago after leaving the White House (on or about January 20, 2021).
Now the neighbors have complained and are trying to enforce the federal government:
Mar-a-Lago’s neighbors sent a letter to the city of Palm Beach and U.S. intelligence on Tuesday complaining that Mr. Trump had violated the 1993 agreement with the city that allowed him to turn the property into one Convert to Moneymakers Club.
“According to the 1993 User Agreement, Mar-a-Lago is a social organization and no one is allowed to live on the property,” wrote Reginald Stambaugh, a lawyer for the DeMoss family who owns a property next to Mar-a-Lago.
“In order to avoid an embarrassing situation for everyone and to give the president time to meet other living conditions in the area, we trust that you will work with his team to remind them of the parameters of the user agreement,” wrote Stambaugh. “Palm Beach has many beautiful properties for sale and he is sure to find one that suits his needs.”
The president’s living quarters in the club were built where Mr. Trump is expected to spend the Christmas holidays and which, according to Mr. Stambaugh, is already against the user agreement.
According to the Washington Post, the city has not enforced the federal government over the years. For example, Palm Beach did not impose any restrictions on the number of days the president spent there, including over the Christmas break. The city has also allowed the installation of a helipad for Marine One – an addition that would be federally prohibited. And the club doesn’t seem to limit 50% of its membership to Palm Beach residents as the agreement requires.
Perhaps Trump could argue that the federal government cannot be enforced on the basis of consent doctrine? That said, Palm Beach has not enforced the contract’s restrictions in so long that it cannot now sue to enforce the agreement.
Imagine that. We will see an Article II litigation regarding President Trump even after he leaves office.