Trump Organization conviction unlikely to impact Trump International Golf Club

The tax fraud conviction in New York won’t have any effect on Palm Beach County’s lease with the Trump Organization for Trump International Golf Club in suburban West Palm Beach, a top county lawyer said.

The response followed news Tuesday that a jury in Manhattan found the Trump Organization and an affiliated family enterprise, Trump Payroll Corp., guilty of a collective 17 criminal charges. The companies now face criminal penalties of up to $1.6 million.

The Trump Organization pays $88,338 a month in rent for more than 214 acres of county land just south of Palm Beach International Airport. Trump International Golf Club is next to the Palm Beach County Jail.

Howard Falcon, chief assistant county attorney, on Tuesday said there is nothing in the lease that allows the contract to be broken in the event of “moral turpitude.”

So-called “bad boy” clauses can terminate a contract for illegal acts and other behavior, which typically is spelled out in legal documents, including leases.

The behavior could include actions such as fraud and other criminal matters, or even not filing paperwork in a timely manner.

Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo: Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post)

A bankruptcy filing, on the other hand, could terminate the lease, Falcon said.

But Falcon said it was very unlikely the Trump Organization would seek bankruptcy protection for fines that could amount to only $1.6 million from the fraud convictions.

Trump’s lease of the central Palm Beach County land dates back to the 1990s and a $75 million lawsuit against the county. The lawsuit was prompted by Trump’s anger about the noise from planes flying over Mar-a-Lago from PBIA.

The lawsuit was resolved in 1996 with a long lease on county land just south of the airport. In 2002, the county struck a deal to lease Trump more land for a nine-hole course.

Trump International Golf Club, which opened in 2000, was designed by Jim Fazio Golf Design and Trump. It features 35-foot-tall rock formations, waterfalls and a clubhouse.

Although Trump owns golf courses in Jupiter and Miami-Dade County, Trump International is the golf course Trump visits the most while at Mar-a-Lago.

Alexandra Clough is a business writer at the Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network.