Presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s “very good insurance policy” came in handy for him after Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
According to a new report in the Associated Press, there’s little evidence that his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach suffered extensive damage that would have warranted the $17 million insurance payment he received after the storm hit.
Trump has even said in the past that he pocketed some of the insurance money, transferring cash into his personal accounts. But the damage the real estate tycoon describes doesn’t match up with other descriptions of Mar-a-Lago’s state following the hurricane, including that of Trump’s longtime former butler, Anthony Senecal. Senecal told the news service that the storm flattened trees and swept away some roof tiles.
“Landscaping, roofing, walls, painting, leaks, artwork in the — you know, the great tapestries, tiles, Spanish tiles, the beach, the erosion,” Trump said about the storm damage, according to the AP. “It’s still not what it was.”
Even Palm Beach County records show no permits were pulled for large-scale construction, instead only permits for new grease traps, tree trimming and $3,000 worth of repairs to outdoor lights and sand clean-up, the latter of which was tied to storm damage, according to the AP.
The private club, built in the 1920s as a home for cereal tycoon Marjorie Merriweather Post, was last valued by Forbes at $150 million. A planning administrator told the AP that “dozens, maybe scores of workers” would have been needed for $17 million of repairs to Mar-a-Lago.
Last year, the Republican nominee filed a lawsuit against Palm Beach County over claims that his historic club was being irreparably damaged by jets overhead. He was seeking $100 million for facade and foundation damage. [AP] – Katherine Kallergis