Mar-a-Lago, the Winter White House of Trump

Mar-a-Lago, often described as the “Winter White House”, was in the news after the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided this sprawling private club in Florida owned by former U S president Donald Trump. The raid relates to the alleged transfer of presidential documents to Mar-a-Lago, including classified materials.

Mar-a-Lago; THE FBI SEARCH

The search is with respect to a request from the National Archives and Records Administration to the Justice Department to look into the transfer of presidential documents to Mar-a-Lago, including classified materials.  The action from FBI came as a committee of Congress continues its investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of the former President.

Mar-a-Lago; WHAT TRUMP SAID?

The former U S President accused the FBI of raiding his property, stating that he was a political victim. Trump said that he was being targeted to derail his potential candidacy through “the weaponization of the Justice System.”  Trump complained that “Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for president in 2024” were mistreating him.

Soon after the raid, Trump in a statement said, “my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” he said in a statement Monday. He did not indicate what they were seeking. “They even broke into my safe!”

Mar-a-Lago; HISTORY

Located in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, which in Spanish means ‘sea to lake’ is a private club, resort, and historic landmark spread across 20 acres.  Marjorie Merriweather Post, a breakfast cereal heiress, built it between 1924 and 1927 as her private residence. It is a 126-room mansion, with wide verandahs and surrounded by well-maintained lawns.

As per the club website, the world-class amenities in Mar-a-Lago include the finest signature European indoor and terrace dining. It also comes up with world-renowned ocean front swimming pool and Beach Club, the Mar-a-Lago Spa. Another attraction is the six championship tennis courts, a full size croquet court, a chip and putt golf course, a state of the art fitness centre, and the most coveted entertaining space, which includes the elegant White and Gold Ballroom, and the sumptuous Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom. The on-property Beach Club includes eight lavish seaside cabanas, a 100’ by 50’ pool surrounded by billowing yellow-striped umbrellas, a whirlpool, and the delicious beach front Bistro, all complemented by a full-service private beach and an awe-inspiring view. 

The Mar-a-Lago Estate was opened officially in January of 1927 after four years of construction.

Across the southeast lawn, a Chattahoochee stone path leads to a tunnel under South Ocean Boulevard, which opens onto the Beach Club. The site on which Mar-a-Lago sits is now considered the most valuable parcel of land anywhere in Florida.

In January 1969, The Department of the Interior designated the estate as “The Mar-a-Lago National Historic Site.” An Act of Congress placed the property on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Until her death in 1973, Post used the estate as a haven for many notable dignitaries. After her death, the estate was willed to the Federal Government for use as a diplomatic/presidential retreat. Ten years later, due to maintenance and security concerns, the government conferred title to the Post Foundation. In 1985, Donald J. Trump purchased the property from the Post Foundation and used the estate as a private residence until 1995. In April of 1995, Mar-a-Lago became established as The Mar-a-Lago Club.

Mar-a-Lago Club

The club operates as resort and hotel for dues-paying members, and rents out estate venues for private events. Membership at the Mar-a-Lago Club required a $200,000 initiation fee. In 2012, reportedly in response to reduced demand following the Bernie Madoff scandal which affected many affluent Palm Beach residents, the fee was lowered to $100,000.

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