Trump takes residents to court over landscaping

Updated Mar 4, 2016
Residents of Doral, Florida, are furious with Donald Trump for blocking their view of the golf resort.Residents of Doral, Florida, are furious with Donald Trump for blocking their view of the golf resort.

Donald Trump ruffles many people’s feathers over plenty of topics, but the residents of Doral, Florida, are going to war over the landscaping.

Doral Country Club, as it was once known, was bought by the Trump Organization back in 2012 and renamed Trump National Doral Miami. Before Trump owned the renowned golf course resort, residents who lived next door enjoyed views of luxuriously green fairways and bright blue lakes.

This view was marred when Trump’s organization decided to update the landscape by installing areca palms, buttonwoods, and fishtails to provide more privacy for the golfers. Homeowners were angered by this, as they had paid extra for houses with these legendary views.

“It’s very upsetting because we paid a premium price for the golf course view, and now it’s being taken away from us,” Doral resident Morgan Levy, 92, told The Miami Herald. “I think it was very inconsiderate and very bully-ish of Mr. Trump, and it follows his pattern of doing what he wants, regardless of how it affects neighbors and other people.”

According to Trump, the landscaping was added to block certain homes he found unsightly.

“There are homes along the fairways that are in serious disrepair,” Ed Russo, Trump’s environmental expert, told reporters. “And there are behaviors in people’s backyards that are inconsistent with a world class set of golf courses, like Donald Trump is attempting to create.”

The behaviors Trump finds repugnant enough to build a green wall includes playing music too loud, wearing inappropriate attire, hanging underwear on clotheslines and drinking too much alcohol.

Outraged Doral residents have voiced their opinions in letters, and in action, as the trees that Trump had planted have repeatedly been either chopped down or severely trimmed. This behavior has been labeled “vandalism/criminal mischief” in a letter from the city to the residents, but the tree hacking hasn’t ceased.

A truce was attempted a year ago, when Doral City Councilman Pete Cabrera suggested angling the trees for a “vertical blind” effect. Trump agreed to rotate some of the trees, but some parts of the resort didn’t have enough space to move the trees, which left some homeowners with an obscured view.

Now, Trump is doing what he does best and is suing eight of the residents for alleged tree damages, with suits seeking more than $15,000 each. One of the residents being sued, Nancy Dominquez, plans to represent herself in court against the law firm of Kendall Coffey, former U.S. attorney for Southern Florida.

“I’m not a billionaire, just a normal hard-working person,” Dominguez said.

Russo said that the company is using litigation as a last resort, as the residents have continued to cut down the plant life.

“We’re not the bully,” he said. “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.”

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