PALM BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) — Donald Trump’s exclusive Palm Beach resort doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 following the presidential election.
The price hike at the luxury resort took effect Jan. 1, less than two months after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, according to CNBC.
The club implemented the increase in two phases, from $100,000 to $150,000 in June, and then to $200,000 at the beginning of this month.
The timing of the price jump is raising red flags.
“It sure looks like he’s using the presidency to line his pockets,” said Jordan Libowitz from the Center for Responsibility and Ethics, a government watchdog agency in Washington, D.C.
Trump has called the resort his “Winter White House,” making some believe the price hike could be seen as giving wealthy club members a way to buy an audience with the president.
“At the minimum, this creates the appearance of cashing in on the presidency and selling direct personal access to the president,” said Robert Weissman, president of government ethics watch group Public Citizen, in an interview with the New York Times. “It is unacceptable, and it demeans the office of the presidency.”
In addition to the initiation fee, members must also pay $14,000 a year in club dues for the 20-acre resort.
One member told the New York Times that Trump’s presidency has made Mar-a-Lago all the more desirable to join.
“It’s now more cachet,” said long-time member Robin Bernstein. “It’s more exclusive.”
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