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Opinion & Analysis

Trump sues Palm Beach County for $100 million

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Donald Trump reportedly filed a lawsuit for $100 million against Palm Beach County alleging that the county’s airport is intentionally directing planes over his club at Mar-a-Lago.

The lawsuit is claiming that the county’s airport directors have pressured the Federal Aviation Administration to have air traffic controllers “deliberately and maliciously” direct almost all flights due east, including Trump’s plane, to fly directly over Mar-a-Lago.

Mar-a-Lago, which is only 10 minutes away from Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach, was built in 1927 and is listed as a National Historic Landmark. Trump purchased the property in 1985 and reopened 10 years later after extensive renovations. Vibrations from the constant air traffic are supposedly causing irreparable damage the building’s antique tiles, roofing and foundation.

Trump may actually have a valid case for Private Nuisance, a tort claim in civil court. Under common law, a nuisance is an interference with a person’s use and enjoyment of his/her land. To win a private nuisance claim, Trump will have to show that the Palm Beach County either intentionally, negligently, or recklessly interfered with his enjoyment of the land or that Palm Beach County continued to send planes over the property after learning of the actual harm or substantial risk of future harm to the buildings structure.

This may actually be possible since this is the third time Trump sued the county for airplane noise. Trump first filed suit in 1995 which resulted in the county agreeing to lease Trump the land that was turned into Trump International Golf Club. He also sued in 2010 against the county alleging vibration damage to Mar-a-Lago which was later dismissed. These prior legal actions may be enough to show that Palm Beach County was aware of the potential damage air traffic may cause to Mar-a-Lago.

If a court does determine that Palm Beach County directed more planes over Mar-a-Lago with knowledge of the potential damage it may cause, Trump will then have to show that damage to Mar-a-Lago is substantial enough that it would offend an ordinary member of the community with normal sensitivity and temperament. It’s not a hard sell to say that an ordinary person would be offended by the continued damage to their antique building that is now used as an expensive private club.

Assuming that the court does find that the damage to Mar-a-Lago is substantial, it will then look to the reasonableness of the county’s conduct and balance the gravity of the harm to the usefulness of the conduct. This will be the stage in the case, assuming it goes to trial, where Trump will spare no expense bringing in air traffic control experts to show that the Palm Beach County Airport’s tactics are outside the standard practice by positioning all flights to fly directly over the piece of land where Mar-a-Lago sits.

There is still a good chance that this case may not go to trial; Palm Beach County Attorney’s have yet to be served with the complaint.  If it does get all the way to a jury, don’t be surprised to see Trump win.

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Evan is an attorney licensed to practice law in Michigan. He's also a dedicated golfer with an obsession for the latest golf equipment, and frequently gets caught in public examining his swing in any reflective surface.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Mark

    Jan 17, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Is Donald Trump the most obnoxious and arrogant man in history?

  2. leftright

    Jan 14, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    I hope he wins because Palm Beach Country is a bastion of progressive elitist wealth, old money and blue haired arrogance. I didn’t leave anything there and hopefully they will drown in their wealth.

  3. EdJ

    Jan 14, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Big Question….Have traffic patterns recently changed? If so why?

  4. gm

    Jan 14, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    he’s a smart guy…he should have thought this out before he bought the course. he now has to deal with the consequences. Its no different then people who complain about golf balls flying into their homes when they live on golf courses. Hey stupid ! you bought the house near landing zones for golf balls…its your problem, not the golfer.
    But this is typical Trump. Loves to here his own B.S. out of his mouth. And has anything that Trump has bought sucked ? NEVER, right !! Its amazing how whatever he touches is golden ! blowhard

    • marcel

      Jan 14, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      ahh i like your logic – so golfer is not responsible for shooting a ball at the house. its the house at fault. whats your handicap?

      • gm

        Jan 15, 2015 at 9:14 am

        maybe my last reply was too harsh for you Marcel…… so just in case the admin doesnt like my rhetoric, i will try again.
        Why you feel handicap has anything to do with anything, im amazed but you think it matters…its 2.1
        NOW to reiterate,
        How do you explain McIlroy’s pull hook into the house at the masters a few years back. Are you saying you have never missed a fairway ??? if you truly read my post, but you probably didnt based on your response, people who buy homes on golf courses (or buy courses next to airports, in trumps case) should have to suffer the consequences…I.E. airport noise…. golf balls hitting houses…… now do you get it ???????

    • ken

      Jan 22, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      That’s the question. Did KLNA change its departure pattern so that the predominant departure path is over the Trump property.
      One must remember. Palm Beach is loaded with old money limousine liberals…..
      Donald Trump is a hard working successful conservative.
      Do the math

  5. Primo

    Jan 14, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Trump is a bully, plain and simple. He’s leveraging for something he wants. The lawsuit is silly and wastes taxpayer dollars. But, Trump cares and is aware of only Trump at all costs. I guess he missed the Business Ethics course @ Wharton…

    • leftright

      Jan 14, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      He didn’t go to Wharton, perhaps that is why he is worth billions instead of running some fly by night.

      • JT

        Jul 5, 2015 at 1:54 pm

        He did go to The Wharton School at Pennsylvania.

  6. Jim

    Jan 14, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Seeing as how Mar-a-Lago was built in 1927, I think it was there LONG before the international airport was built.

  7. Steve

    Jan 13, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    trump is just pissed he is losing money at that course. I live in Palm beach and know caddies for his course and there is no work there, course is dead. As much as he will tell you his golf business is doing great. He said the same with his casino business.

  8. Double Mocha Man

    Jan 13, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Not a word in the article about the prevailing winds. Generally, for safety reasons, planes take off and land into the wind.

    • Nice

      Jan 13, 2015 at 10:19 am

      I think Trump can afford a lawyer that would have considered that defense.

      • ca1879

        Jan 13, 2015 at 12:04 pm

        Which has nothing to do with filing a suit. It’s all about applying pressure to gain advantage in the eventual resolution. They’ll say weather, Trump will say malice, untrained judge will rely on expert testimony which will conflict. The decision will come down to who tells the best tale. It’s unlikely to see a final decision unless one side or the other appears to have a slam dunk.

  9. Swang'nThemClubs

    Jan 13, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Buy property near an airport and then complain about the noise that comes along with having property near an airport…

    • other paul

      Jan 14, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      I lived close to an airport for a years, and a police friend of mine said that there is a lady who calls in and complains about noise 2 times per day. Every day.

  10. That guy

    Jan 12, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    it is possible to land and take off on a runway facing a different directions. Taxiing. Circling.

    • BAF

      Jan 13, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      Airplanes take off and land into the wind. That’s how airplanes work. When there’s no wind, there’s a preferred runway, which is the only thing that is up for debate. I’ve flown into and out of PBI in both directions, but that close to the water there is rarely a calm day.

  11. BAF

    Jan 12, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Pull up Palm Beach Intl and Mar-a-Lago on Google maps. His club is due east of the east-bound runway. Having taken off from this airport many, many times, pilots aren’t even connecting to departure by the time their aircraft is over his club. What does he want them to do? He bought the airport knowing full well it was VERY close to a mid-sized airport which handles jet aircraft, one of which is his very own 727. The only self-serving egotistical person here is the Donald.

    • BAF

      Jan 12, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Oooops…I meant bought the club knowing full well….

      • Double Mocha Man

        Jan 13, 2015 at 10:02 am

        There’s the solution! Trump should just buy the airport!

    • ken

      Jan 22, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      Yeah…That’s nice…The problem in your statement is that the airport in question is Palm Beach County Airpark ( KLNA) ….NOT Palm Beach Int’l (KPBI)

  12. Bob Smoth

    Jan 12, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    I hope Trump does win. Sometimes the people that sit on these city councils that implement and make decisions have their own prejudices towards people, Unfortuately most people don’t pay enough attention to these things. I’m glad Trump is standing up to these self serving egotistical people.

    • RG

      Jan 13, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      “I’m glad Trump is standing up to these self serving egotistical people.” Yes Donald Trump “Champion of The Little Guy.” I’m feeling pukey…

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive WITB Edition: Adam Scott

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In this WITB edition of The Gear Dive, Johnny chats with JJ VanWezenbeeck and Aaron Dill of Titleist Golf on the ins and outs of Genesis Invitational Champion Adam Scott’s setup.

Adam Scott WITB details below

Driver: Titleist TS4 (10.5 degrees, A1 SureFit setting, 2-gram weight)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 X

  • Scott put the Kuro Kage in play this week. Per Titleist’s J.J. VanWezenbeeck, “Adam Scott switched to the TS4 driver at the ZoZo Championship due to head size, shape, and improved launch to spin ratios. This week, after discussions with Adam, he went to a shaft he had previously played for increased stability. He felt the shaft went a little far and he lost head feel. We went on course with lead tape to get the feels to match up then weighted the head to preferred swing weight after testing.”

3-wood: Titleist TS2 (16.5 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Rombax P95 X

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (3-iron), Titleist 680 (4-9 irons)
Shafts: KBS Tour 130 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (48.08F, 52.08F, 56.10S), Vokey Design SM8 WedgeWorks (60.06K)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT Tour Issue X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Xperimental Prototype Rev X11 (long)

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Scott marks his ball with dots in the pattern of the Southern Cross, which is featured on the Australian flag.

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: An examination of proper “release”

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One of my favorite ‘contributions’ to this game I love is helping golfers t an “ah-ha” moment, wherein they gain an understanding of the idiosyncrasies of the golf swing that helps them make progress in their ball striking. In so many cases with recreational golfers, keys to improvement can be much more conceptual than physical. In other words, helping a golfer discover what really should be happening in various parts of the golf swing leads them to make their own swing alterations to adopt this new understanding.

I firmly believe that teaching through understanding is much more productive than trying to teach “a new move” through the physical approach. From my observation of recreational golfers, particularly those with “homemade” swings (which all have the potential to produce better and more consistent results in my opinion), one of the most misunderstood intricacies of the golf swing is how the club should be “released” through the impact zone.

Almost universally, golfers seem to think that the club releases through impact by or with an unhinging of the wrists, so that the left arm and shaft form a straight line.

If you genuinely want to improve your ball striking, your distance, your consistency and your scores, I suggest you pursue a genuine and technical understanding of this critical segment of the golf swing. Because most of you are
stuck in front of your TV right now–watching more golf than you are playing–you can make this time count. Every chance you get, watch the slow-motion videos of the golf swing from behind the golfer, looking down the line. A
straight-on view of the golf swing does not reveal this angle, but that is mostly what we are given in swing analysis by television and magazines, unfortunately.

[I’ll offer too, that you can learn a lot more from watching the LPGA players than the guys, as these very talented ladies are much closer to our own strength profiles. In my opinion, most of them are much more fundamentally
sound in their mechanics as they simply have to get the most efficiency out of the swing.]

What you will see, particularly with the wedge and short iron shots is that the hands and arms follow a path through impact that very nearly “covers” their position at address, where a distinct angle is formed by the left arm and shaft of the club…again, looking from behind the golfer down the target line.

As you study these videos and still photos, you’ll see that in the longer, more powerful swings–driver, metals, hybrids–the hands drift a little higher and away from the body more than they do with the middle and short irons, but the angle is still there. As you watch these guys hit the delicate short shots around the greens, the hands almost identically cover their address position.

That’s because a proper “release” of the club is not as much an unhinging of the wrists, but rather a rotation of the hands and arms through impact, in concert with and driven by the rotation of the body core itself. Close examination shows that the hands remain almost directly in front of the sternum through the entire impact zone, and the forearms and hands rotate – not unhinge – so that the club is squared at the ball for consistent impact.

Now, all this diagnosis would not be worth a dime to you if I didn’t show you how to experience this for yourself. Like most new physical activities, you are always best served by trying to LEARN IT IN SLOW MOTION! Simply pick up your 8- or 9-iron and find a place in your house or garage where you won’t take out a table lamp, and make very S-L-O-W swings, while concentrating on making this rotational release motion.

Your goal is to set up at address with the left arm hanging naturally from your shoulder, not pushed out toward the ball. Take the club back with a rotation of the body core, and then back through the impact zone, concentrating on making the left arm and hands exactly “cover” their address position. The angle of the wrists is maintained, and the club rotates through the ball, as your body rotates through impact.

Once you get the feel of it in slow motion, make slightly faster swings, concentrating on the path of the arms and that rotational release. When you actually hit balls with this newly-learned release–DO IT AT 35-50% POWER–you’ll be amazed at the boring trajectories and effortless distance you will get!

Let’s get some feedback on this, guys. How did you do?

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Mondays Off

Mondays Off: Tiger at Riviera and his future in golf

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Tiger looked pretty bad at the Genesis this weekend and is not playing next week, what does his future look like in golf? Speculation on his future and if he will play some champions events or what. Also discussed: A little on distance and what not to do at a club demo day!

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