In 2011, a non-jury trial ruled for a former member of the Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach County, Fla., who claimed he was owed his $200,000 deposit after being ejected from the club without a committee hearing. The appellate court reversed the decision, writing that the member was never actually kicked out of the club.
Donald Trump will pocket $200,000 after an appellate court ruled against a former member of his Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach County, Fla., the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
The 4th District Court of Appeals in West Palm Beach reversed a July 2011 lower-court decision against Trump concerning a 2009 club membership dispute with Harry Theodoracopulos, the Sun Sentinel reported.
Trump will keep the $200,000 deposit Theodoracopulos paid in 2000. Trump personally suspended the member for “abusing numerous caddies, other members and representatives of the club in general.” He also referred to the 78-year-old as a “cancer” and wanted to “get rid of him,” according to court records.
Circuit Judge Timothy McCarthy sided with Theodoracopulos’ claim after a non-jury trial, finding that Trump used “derogatory expressions” and actions, and violated club rules concerning the expulsion and suspension of members. McCarthy found that Theodoracopulos was denied his right to a hearing by a committee at the club and deserved the return of his deposit as damages, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The appellate court, however, ruled that neither Trump nor the club actually kicked out Theodoracopulos, despite Trump’s claim.
“There was no evidence, however, that Donald Trump or the club ever acted on Trump’s personal feelings or communicated to Theodoracopulos an intent to permanently expel him from the Club,” the court wrote.
In an April 2009 letter, Trump accused Theodoracopulos of creating an “intolerable situation” at the club, the Sun Sentinel reported.
“What is going on and why would you treat people so badly, especially caddies that work so hard to ensure that you have a pleasant round,” Trump wrote. “Are you at all ashamed of yourself?”
The appeals court also asked the trial court to consider “nominal damages” for Theodoracopulos concerning a prorated portion of his $22,365 annual club dues. Attorney fees must also be hashed out, the Sun Sentinel reported.
Theodoracopulos’ attorney, John Jorgensen, said his client merely complained the golf course was overcrowded because members were bringing a lot of guests.
“My client was unhappy,” Jorgensen said. “He thought it was being run more like a public golf course.”