Trump Organization doubles initiation fees at Mar-a-Lago, the "Winter White House"

Trump Organization doubles initiation fees at Mar-a-Lago, the "Winter White House"
The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida
Source: Don Emmert/AFP
The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida
Source: Don Emmert/AFP

The Trump Organization has reportedly doubled the initiation fees at Mar-a-Lago, the exclusive resort in West Palm Beach which President Donald Trump has often referred to as the "Winter White House." 

Starting on Jan. 1, new initiates at the club had to pay a whopping $200,000 — on top of recurring membership fees and taxes — in order to join the club, up from $100,000 last year, according to the CNBC report.

To be fair, an extra $100,000 might not be such a bad price considering the club's latest perk: Trump has already been down to visit twice since his election, and according to a tweet even wrote his inaugural address there. 

This revelation is unlikely to help pacify the president's critics, many of whom have accused Trump of trying to profit off of the office: As Mic has previously reported, the ethics counsels from both previous administrations have been vocally against Trump's plan to retain ownership of his company, even though his sons will reportedly run operations in tandem with a trustee.

Trump's own attorneys have argued that constitutional restrictions regarding presidents accepting foreign payments don't apply to fair-value transactions. 

Whether Mar-a-Lago membership is really worth twice as much as it was three weeks ago remains to be seen.

Professor Saikrishna Prakash at the University of Virginia School of Law said that — as long as there are U.S. nationals who were willing to pay the $200,000 price — even the King of Saudi Arabia could hypothetically pay the membership fee and not cause a violation of the Constitution.

"Assuming that the Saudi King is a Mar-a-Lago member: If others are paying a higher fee (many others), that would tend to establish that the higher rates are market rates," Prakash said in an email. "For instance, if 1,000 members agree to stay on at higher rates, that would suggest that Mar members were getting something of a discount before."

Representatives from the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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