Developer Glenn Straub responded to racial remarks he made at a Wellington Village Council meeting this week.
At the meeting on Tuesday, Straub, one of Wellington’s largest landowners, said that if he was forced to open up his golf course to the public, “You’re not going to like the black people who come in here, the Hispanics,” the Palm Beach Post reported.
A change in Wellington’s nuisance vegetation rules regarding the height of grass sparked the comments. Straub opposed the change, which would affect the village’s standards for property maintenance, including for golf courses.
In a statement sent to the Palm Beach Post, Straub said he is not a racist and that the message he was trying to convey was misconstrued. “I am a businessman, and I have been fortunate to be very successful, however I am probably not the greatest public speaker,” he said.
“The point I was trying to make, and did actually clarify a little later on in my remarks, is that for the past several years I have made a portion of my unused golf courses available to black and Hispanic kids, their parents, coaches and referees to play soccer every Sunday. I provided them a safe place to play in Wellington, something that the Village could not, or did not offer.”
Straub goes on to say that the village and residents of the Palm Beach Polo and Polo West “complained mercilessly,” filing code enforcement violations and lawsuits. He calls the village’s and residents’ actions racist.
“What I tried to convey to the council on Tuesday night was that if they didn’t like the black and Hispanic folks playing soccer on Sundays, surely they won’t like me opening up my private country club golf course to the public in order to try and make it at least break even,” he continued. [Palm Beach Post] — Katherine Kallergis