Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is suing eight residents whose properties back up to his South Florida golf course, alleging they are cutting down trees he planted to make the course more private for golfers.
Residents say the landscaping that was part of Trump’s $200 million renovation of the signature Doral course is blocking their serene fairway views and damaging their home values. Some of the homes are worth $500,000 or more, but Trump says some of the properties are in disrepair and residents played music too loud, hung underwear on clotheslines and drank too much alcohol. He said the behavior is not up to the standards of a world class golf course.
Trump is accusing residents of chopping down or radically trimming the trees. The city sent a letter to residents in December warning against trespassing and vandalism, but Trump’s camp says that didn’t stop the problem.
His organization filed lawsuits for alleged damage last month, seeking more than $15,000 in damages in each suit.
The lawsuits were reported by the Miami Herald Feb. 3, the same week that a major tournament, the WGC-Cadillac Championship, will bring the national spotlight to the course.
“We’re not the bully. We’re not going on their property and doing anything. We’re not suing them for anything they didn’t do. We don’t want to sue them. We just want them to stop,” said Ed Russo, Trump’s golf environmental expert.
Resident Nancy Dominguez denied damaging Trump’s trees and says the lawsuit has been very stressful.
“I’m not a billionaire, just a normal hard-working person,” Dominguez said.