The Trump Organization is appealing a judge’s ruling earlier this year that would award $5.76 million to former members of the Trump National Golf Club Jupiter.
President Donald Trump’s development company filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta this week, arguing that U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra incorrectly ordered the Trump Organization to repay members for improperly keeping their deposits, according to the Palm Beach Post. A judge’s February ruling awarded 65 plaintiffs $4.84 million plus $925,000 in interest.
Trump bought the then-Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa for $5 million in 2012. The property, off of Donald Ross Road at 115 Eagle Tree Terrace in Jupiter, had been losing as much as $4.1 million per year, and Trump’s purchase came with the understanding that his company was assuming liability for $41 million in refundable deposits that former members were waiting to receive.
Resigned members were previously allowed to use club facilities while waiting for their deposits. They filed a class action suit in 2013 after being barred from entrance. The then-Republican presidential candidate penned at the time, “If you choose to remain on the resignation list, you’re out.” The refundable memberships ranged from $35,000 to $210,000.
Trump’s attorneys claim the organization didn’t breach the contract that members signed with the Ritz-Carlton, the Palm Beach Post reported.
In the appeal, attorney Bruce Rogow admitted the 65 members should not have been forced to pay as much as $20,000 in annual fees for a club they did not use. However, Ragow claims Marra’s ruling allows the members to “game” the system and alleges Marra misinterpreted the contract by redefining key words, according to the Palm Beach Post.
“Having signed the notices of resignation, they were gone. All that was left for them was to wait until their refund list numbers came up,” he wrote in the appeal. [Palm Beach Post] – Amanda Rabines