Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Donald Trump Connected to Chicago Mob?

Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago private club may be fined $15,000 by the Town of Palm Beach for three code violations — including a $5,000 hit for advertising and holding free-lunch seminars pushing a financial services company for older retirees.

Free lunches? Retiree seminars? Advertising? Holy Marjorie Merriweather Post!

Trump was in the Caribbean Thursday and couldn't be reached. But the Mar-a-Lago member whose company organized the lunches, Phillip Roy Financial Services boss Phillip Wasserman, said he was at the receiving end of a good "talking to" by The Donald.

Palm Beach forbids events at Mar-a-Lago to be advertised as "open to the public," which Wasserman did on the company's Web site. "Mr. Trump was stern with us," said Wasserman, who has offices in Boca and North Palm Beach.

The company boasts hundreds of free-lunch financial planning seminars in places like Carrabba's and Outback Steakhouse. The general concept of the popular seminars is being investigated by state regulators because it can hide high-pressure pitches.

"Mr. Trump didn't mention anything about a fine, but we'll be happy to reimburse him when he pays," Wasserman said.

Wasserman's background, meanwhile, may cause some members to question the "exclusive" label Trump tagged on the historic property's club, which charges a $175,000 membership fee. A lawyer by trade, the Sarasota-based Wasserman, 49, resigned from the Florida Bar nine years ago while facing disciplinary action. The Florida Supreme Court found him guilty of charging excessive fees, failure to act with diligence, improper trust-account maintenance and even paying a disciplinary fine with a bad check.

"I hope this isn't going to cause Mr. Trump to cancel my membership," Wasserman said, "although I've seen (boxing promoter) Don King at the club and he is a convicted killer."

Wasserman also acknowledged that several members of his family were tied to the Chicago mob.
The town, meanwhile, wants Trump to pay another $5,000 for having 820 fans at the Elton John concert in March, exceeding the occupancy permit by 120; and $5,000 for removal of 8-foot hedges.

"The fines will be addressed before the Town Council in June," said Town Building Department Director Veronica Close.

Thanks to Jose Lambiet.

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