The Real Deal Miami

Eric Trump testifies in federal court case over Jupiter golf course dispute

Trump scion contended that his organization's takeover was positive for members

August 17, 2016 01:30PM

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The Trump National Golf Club (Inset: Eric Trump, left, and Donald Trump)

The Trump National Golf Club (Inset: Eric Trump via creativecommons, left, and Donald Trump via Gage Skidmore)

Like father, like son.

Testifying before a West Palm Beach federal court Tuesday, Eric Trump said the Trump Organization made its Jupiter golf club “great again,” despite an ongoing class-action suit from members alleging they’ve been stiffed on millions in refundable deposits.

The testimony reportedly came on the second day of a two-day trial that has pitted the Trump National Golf Club against dozens of its members, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, defended his company’s management of the golf club, saying the takeover was a big win for members.

Trouble at the club first started brewing in 2012, when the Trump Organization bought out what was then known as the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa for $5 million.

The ailing club had been losing as much as $4.1 million per year, according to the Palm Beach Post, and the sale came with the understanding that Trump was assuming liability for $41 million in refundable deposits that former members were waiting to receive.

Its new ownership came with policy changes: resigned members, who were previously allowed to use club facilities while waiting for their deposits, were barred from entrance.

As Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump penned at the time, ““If you choose to remain on the resignation list, you’re out.” Those resignees were still responsible for paying dues, however, until they received their deposits — a waiting game they claim could take years.

Eric Trump contended in court that the $25 million renovation brought in new members, meaning those resigning had a better chance of getting their deposits as opposed to Ritz-Carlton’s management, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Though the trial has ended, the battle is not yet over: U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra asked for proposed judgments from both sides by Sept. 16th. [Palm Beach Post]Sean Stewart-Muniz