Mar-a-Lago (English pronunciation: /mɑɹ.ə.lɑ.goʊ/) is a landmark estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Built from 1924 to 1927 by Marjorie Merriweather Post and envisioned by her as a future winter retreat of US presidents, the estate is currently owned by The Trump Organization, LLC. According to financial disclosure forms filed by the estate's owner, Donald Trump, the Mar-a-Lago Club realized $29.7 million in gross revenues in the period June 2015 to May 2016.

The 126-room, 110,000-square-foot (10,219 m²) house is also the headquarters of the Mar-a-Lago Club.

Etymology

The name Mar-a-Lago is a Spanish word-for-word translation of "Sea-to-Lake." "Mar-a-Lago," however, is not idiomatic Spanish, as dashes are rarely used in place names and the preposition "a" would normally be accompanied by an article.

History

Marjorie Merriweather Post built the house with her then-husband Edward F. Hutton. Post hired Marion Sims Wyeth to design the house, and Joseph Urban to create interior design and exterior decorations for the house. Upon her death in 1973, Post willed the 17-acre (69,000 m2) estate to the U.S. Government as a retreat for Presidents and visiting foreign dignitaries. However, the mansion was not used for this purpose. The U.S. Government deeded it back to the Merriweather Post family. Mar-a-Lago was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1980. Donald Trump purchased the property in 1985.

Mar-a-Lago has frequently hosted the International Red Cross Ball, an annual white tie, tails, and tiara ball. Founded by Post, it has a history of attracting wealthy socialites and ambassadors from across the world in support of the mission of the American Red Cross.

Donald Trump paid $10 million for the estate in 1985. After acquiring the property, Trump had the property renovated, with 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, a 29-foot (8.8 m)-long pietra dura marble top dining table, 12 fireplaces, and three bomb shelters. The club also has five clay tennis courts and a waterfront pool. Further additions have been made since then, including a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) ballroom.

In 1994, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley spent their honeymoon at Mar-a-Lago.

On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter ranked Mar-a-Lago fifth on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.

Lawsuits

Flag litigation

On October 3, 2006, Trump raised a 20-by-30-foot (6.1 by 9.1 m) American flag on an 80-foot (24 m) flagpole at Mar-a-Lago. Town zoning officials asked Trump to adhere to town zoning codes that limit flagpoles to a height of 42 feet (13 m). This dispute led the town council of Palm Beach to charge Trump $1,250 for every day that the flag stayed up. Trump filed a lawsuit against the Town of Palm Beach. Trump eventually dropped his lawsuit over the flag, and in exchange the town waived its fines. As part of a court-ordered mediation, Trump was allowed to file for a permit and keep a pole that was both 10 feet (3.0 m) shorter than the original pole and located on a different spot on his lawn. The agreement also required him to donate $100,000 to veterans’ charities, as well as resulted in a change to town ordinances allowing out-of-town enrollees in club membership.

Aviation litigation

Trump has repeatedly filed lawsuits against the Palm Beach County over aircraft going to and from Palm Beach International Airport (KPBI) allegedly affecting Mar-a-Lago.

Trump first filed such a lawsuit in 1995; that action was settled in 1996, with the county agreeing to collaborate with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and to change flight patterns so the noisiest jet aircraft flew over a wider area. In July 2010, Trump filed another lawsuit aiming to stop the airport from constructing a second commercial runway. That suit was dismissed.

Trump filed a third suit against the county in January 2015, seeking $100 million in damages for "creating an unreasonable amount of noise, emissions and pollutants at Mar-a-Lago." Trump claims that officials pressured the FAA to direct air traffic to PBIA over Mar-a-Lago in a "deliberate and malicious" act.

In November 2015, a Florida Circuit Court judge ruled against most of Trump's arguments, dismissing four of the six claims and allowing the others to proceed. Legal maneuvering is likely to allow the lawsuit to continue past the 2016 presidential election, in which Trump is the Republican presidential nominee.