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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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Opinion & Analysis

Chat with a (soon-to-be) PGA Tour champion: Sam Ryder

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From 2003 through 2008, I had a side job as a high school golf coach for Bishop Moore High School in Orlando, Florida. One of the kids to come up through the ranks during my tenure at Bishop Moore was a young man named Sam Ryder. Now, at 29 years of age, Sam is in his sophomore season on the PGA Tour, qualifying by way of his second-place finish in the standings on the 2017 (then) Web.com Tour.

Ryder played on the PGA Tour Canada in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, he finished fourth in the PGA Tour Canada Order of Merit earning a place on the Web.com Tour for 2016.

In July 2017, Ryder had his first Web.com win, at the Pinnacle Bank Championship, finishing eight strokes ahead of the field. He finished second in the 2017 Web.com Tour regular season rankings to gain a place on the PGA Tour for 2018.

In his rookie campaign on the PGA Tour, Sam had a T2 finish at the John Deere, a fifth-place finish at the Houston Open and a T7 at the Barbasol Championship. He finished the year ranked 101 in the FedEx Cup Race.
This year, despite battling an injury, Sam has a third at the Shriners, a T4 at the Safeway and just last week, a T18 at the John Deere. He is currently ranked 92nd in the FedEx Cup standings and 190th in the World Golf Rankings.

I recently caught up with Sam to chat about his run-up to the PGA Tour and all the various experiences that go along with that.

So, let’s go back to your Bishop Moore days…when I was coaching my last year of vrsity, I think you were a junior. Sean took over your senior year. Curious, if back then, did you aspire of playing professionally?

SR: Generally, yes, I think I always saw myself playing baseball growing up. I wanted to be a professional in Major Leagues. When I turned to golf, I continued the path. I have always thought, “Why put in the effort if you don’t have a means to an end?” Without putting the goal on paper, it was always the end goal: to see how far I can go.

How about your years at Stetson? How did that play into your development as a future PGA Tour star?

SR: Stetson was my only Division 1 scholarship offer, and actually the only school I applied to. I knew I wanted to give golf a shot. Playing Division 1 in Florida was going to give me my best opportunity to get better.

At what point during your rise through the Canadian and Web.com did you really feel like you had what it took to play full time on the PGA Tour?

SR: I’ve always just wanted to see how good I can get. I love the game of golf, so it’s easy for me to work hard. I never knew if I was going to be a failed pro who never made it on tour or make it to number one in the world. But I’ve always been driven by the competitive nature of the sport and wanting to see where I “stack up” so to speak.

What was the most eye-opening part of playing full time on the PGA Tour for you?

SR: I think the biggest challenge of being a PGA Tour rookie is trying to learn all of the new golf courses. Everything about being a rookie on Tour is setting you up to be uncomfortable. Rookies are really behind the eight-ball when they get out there. Until you’re able to get into a routine and develop a level of comfort it’s hard to expect good results. I wanted to stay true to my approach for the most part. I earned my way on the PGA Tour and knew I was good enough based on the success I had on the Web.com Tour. I’m always trying to get better, but I wanted to do it my way, the way that got me there. It’s really easy to try to be someone you’re not when you get on Tour.

You have been in contention multiple times on the weekend and deep into a Sunday, what have you taken as the biggest positive from those experiences and what do you feel you still need to work on in regard to notching that first win?

SR: Biggest positive: playing well in big-time pressure moments. I haven’t really “lost” an event, so to speak. I have come from behind to make a good push. Knowing that when I am in these situations, and the adrenaline is going, I am able to hit the shots and make the putts. It gives me confidence that I am not going to fold in a pressure situation.

Something that everyone is always working on, including Tiger Woods, is to stay in the moment. As cliche as that is, it is a constant struggle to focus on the task at hand. Don’t get too high or low- treat each shot for what it is…

As a PGA Staff Professional with Cleveland/Srixon for several years, I know how great the equipment is with them. What had you join their team as a staff Tour Professional?

SR: I’ve been with Cleveland since I turned pro in 2012-13, they were the first manufacturer to approach me, and I love their equipment from the ball to the wedges and now the irons and driver.

What currently are you and your coach working on?

SR: Having missed significant time due to injury recently, we are just working on a lot of the same things I have been working on, my swing doesn’t change much. Right now, distance control with the irons and wedges is a focus.

Any veteran Tour members welcome you as a new member when you first came out? Kind of show you the ropes.

SR: Former player, Fulton Allem, gave me advice about managing strengths and weaknesses. Some players get so consumed with their weakness that they lose their strengths. Other players maximize their strengths and have awareness and the ability to monitor and play around their weaknesses. That goes along with the importance of staying true to your identity as a player as opposed to trying to be someone you’re not.

Chris DiMarco has been a mentor to me, growing up in the Orlando area. He has been able to provide guidance and support over the past few years, as I navigate my first years on TOUR.

For the most part veteran players as a whole have been accommodating and welcoming and are happy to share knowledge along the way.

So, what’s a typical work week look like for you? Tournament week and non?

SR: Tournament Weeks are pretty consistent…

Monday- is usually a travel day and I make a point to good work out in that day, as it’s a day off from golf Tuesday- I play nine holes
Wed- Pro-am
I go to the gym every day before I go to the course, just to get my body warmed up. Thursday and Friday rounds alternate AM/ PM tee times. I get up three hours before regardless of the time of the round, just to get body ready.

Non-Tournament Weeks…
When I am home, I go to the gym with my trainer, Alex Bennet @ TPC Sawgrass performance center 5/6 times per week. Usually, Monday and Tuesday are days off from golf, to give my body a rest.

I practice on Wed/ Thursday and play money games with other TOUR players on the weekend, to keep my game sharp and prepare for the high stakes the next week. I live less than a mile from the beach, and I enjoy going there to relax. I spend time visiting friends too.

You’ve become somewhat of a fashion icon on tour…what is your take on style and dress on Tour? It seems like a big thing for an observer from this side of the ropes…a way of self-marketing perhaps or standing out from the pack?

SR: I definitely care about my style on the golf course. I’m certainly not afraid to make a little bit of a fashion statement and wear things other players may not be willing to wear. The clothes I wear can definitely contribute to some added confidence, and confidence is one of the most important components to playing good golf.

Curious on your take of the health of golf in general?

SR: I think it’s great. The game of golf is in a good spot. I think Tiger Woods being relevant is massively important to the game, it brings sponsors and more viewers to the game. There is a great crop of young players right now. It is in a healthy, sustainable spot. Jay Monahan really has the TOUR moving in a good direction.

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The 19th Hole: Gary Player, Irish ambassadors talk Open in Northern Ireland

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Hall of Famer Gary Player returns to the 19th Hole to talk about the Championship, his record and his favorites to win this year. Also features Irish Ambassador to the U.S. Dan Mulhall and Northern Ireland Consul Director Norman Houston.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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TG2: Up early watching The Open Live! SPOILER ALERT!

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Rob talks Knudson into getting up WAY early to watch The Open Championship. Talking about live play, Darren Clarke’s hair, and how Rory started his day. Definitely spoilers, so don’t listen if you are recording!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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