Former President Donald Trump knows how to be the center of all media attention and controversies. Lately, he has been a target on New York Attorney General Letitia James’ radar, and she has finally taken a shot at him. Last year, in September, James announced the $250 million civil lawsuit filed against Trump, his adult children, and Trump Organization executives. The lawsuit accuses him of inflating the price of his property, Mar-a-Lago, by a whopping $664 million, among other things.
Here is everything to know about Mar-a-Lago and its worth in 2023.
How Much is the Total Worth of Mar-a-Lago?
Mar-a-Lago is a luxurious resort and a historic landmark constructed by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. After her death, the property was ultimately granted to the Marjorie Merriweather Post Foundation by the federal government.
It was in 1985 that Donald Trump purchased the property from the foundation. At that time, the transaction cost $10 million. In no time, Trump turned the estate into a money-making instrument. According to a popular magazine, “Trump paid “$5 million for the massive home, a reported $3 million for its lavish furnishings, plus another $2 million for 400 feet of prime beachfront directly across the street.”
As of 2023, the total evaluation of the property has been estimated at a whopping $350 million. No wonder the estate is one of Trump’s greatest investments in time.
Where is Mar-a-Lago Located?
Mar-a-Lago is a 62,500-square-foot property located in Palm Beach, Florida. The construction was completed in 1927. It comprises 126 rooms. When the owner died, she gave the property to the National Park Service in a hope that it could be used for state visits or as a Winter White House. However, it was soon returned to the Post Foundation by the Act of Congress in 1981 due to its expensive maintenance.
The property boasts the second-largest mansion in Florida and the 24th-largest mansion in the United States of America.
Does Donald Trump Live on the Property?
Yes, Mar-a-Lago has been serving as the primary residence of Trump and Melania since 2019. Throughout his term, he was often spotted at the residence, when he was not at The White House. In December 2020, Trump’s family clashed with the DeMoss family over certain stipulations involving the former party’s accommodation. At that time, the latter party initiated legal action to prevent them from moving back.
The DeMoss family sent a letter to the authorities in Palm Beach and the US Secret Service, stating that Trump has lost his legal right permanently to live there due to a supposed 1993 agreement. The letter suggested the town ‘avoid an embarrassing situation’ for the former president and further requested them to inform Trump he cannot reside there full time. Trump allegedly signed a ‘use agreement’ in 1993 after converting the private resident into a social club.
Part of the deal prohibits any of the club members from spending more than 21 days a year in the club’s guest suites or staying there longer than seven consecutive days. However, Trump visited there over 30 times during his tenure in the White House, breaking the rule with more than 130 nights of stays.
The former president was also required to ensure over half of the club’s members live or work in Palm Beach and that there were no more than 500 members.
What is the Mar-a-Lago Club?
In the late ‘90s when Trump was facing financial setbacks, he decided to turn Mar-a-Lago into a small, divided property to earn some money. But the city council rejected his proposal, and the estate was turned into a members-only club. The estate operates as a resort and hotel for the members and rents out venues for private events.
Membership at the club requires a $200,000 initiation fee up until 2012 when it was lowered to $100,000. The annual dues are $14,000, and there is an annual food minimum of $2,000. As per their official website, the exclusive membership grants paying owners access to the ‘Trump Spa and Salon, the pool, the Beach Club, breath-taking guest rooms, exclusive suites, a state-of-the-art fitness center, award-winning tennis courts, beautiful croquet lawns, and an entertainment series which hosts internationally world-renowned talent.’
The exclusive membership of the club includes some billionaires such as Willain I Koch, Thomas Peterffy, Jeff Greene, Richard LeFrak, Bruce Toll, Christopher Ruddy, and more. The club serves its members with many luxurious amenities.
Lesser-Known Interesting Facts about Mar-a-Lago
A Historic Landmark
The Heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post inherited the property from her father for $250 million in 1895. At that time, she was only 27. The property soon became a historic landmark, and the rest is history.
It Was Planned to become the Winter White House after her Death in 1973
The Heiress willed the property to the US government, but presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter were not interested. Due to their lack of interest, the government gave the estate to the Post Foundation, Post’s daughters, who did not maintain the grounds, auctioned it in 1981 for $20 but in vain.
The Real Cost and Meaning of the Property
When the property was constructed, its original net worth was $7 million. It took three years to complete the construction. Mar-a-Lago is a Spanish name that means ‘sea to lake’. The property comprises 128 rooms.
Amenities Inside the Club
The club at the property is full of amenities. It comprises an oceanfront swimming pool, spa, salon, six tennis courts, two ballrooms, a croquet court, and seaside cabanas. These amenities are available to members only. The club received the Five Star Diamond Award in 1998, and later in 2008, it received the Six Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.
Know the Inside of the Club’s Décor
The property still has most of the original décor, such as imported stone from Genoa, Italy, and 16th-century Flemish tapestries. The former president later built a 20,000 square-foot-ballroom with $7 million in gold leaf and four gold-plated sinks worth $100,000. The library has centuries-old British oak and is filled with some rare first-edition books.
Many Top Performers have Performed at the Club.
Top musicians and artists like Celine Dion, Billy Joel, and Diana Ross are among the top names that have sung at the concerts carried out at the club. The concerts took place in a 10,000-square-foot tent on Mar-a-Lago’s front lawn.
Michael Jackson Spent his Honeymoon at the Property
Besides performances from the top celebs like Beach Boys, Celine Dion, and more, Mar-a-Lago is also known for its guest list who stayed over the property, attended charity events, and even spent their honeymoons. Reportedly, Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson spent their honeymoon at the property.
Mar-a-Lago is an Inclusive Property
In 1997, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had sued the city for practicing quiet racism by allowing other clubs to deny access to Jews and African-Americans.
The Controversy Surrounding Mar-a-Lago
In recent months, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s property. The estate first became the stage of a high-profile FBI raid and later the platform from which the former president announced his third White House bid.
Last year, in August, FBI agents raided the property after a lead about the existence of sensitive and classified documents kept improperly inside it. Later, in September, New York Attorney General Letitia James accused the owner of having overvalued the property tenfold. According to her, Trump was doing a years-long fraud scheme.
The lawsuit filed by James became the talk of the town throughout the United States of America. Per it, the property was valued as high as $739 million, a claim that was ‘based on the false premise that it was unrestricted property and could be developed and sold for residential use, even though Mr. Trump himself signed deeds donating his residential development rights and sharply restricting changes to the property.’ James claimed that the overall value of the property should be closer to $75 million.
In November, after most of the midterms’ races had been called across the country, Trump chose his Winter White House as the stage from which his third presidential bid for the 2024 election was to be announced.
All these events also highlight the importance of Mar-a-Lago in Trump’s life and his political career. The transformation made by Trump on the property has only made it more valuable on the market.