No ma­jor dam­age at Mar-a-Lago

Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY - By DAR­RELL HOFHEINZ

Like other homes in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s “win­ter White House” — ap­pears to have come through the outer bands of Hur­ri­cane Irma with­out ma­jor wind dam­age.

A phone call to the pri­vate club went im­me­di­ately to voice­mail on Mon­day. But a neigh­bor who lives on the street just north of Mar-aLago said he spoke with a main­te­nance worker at the club. There were mi­nor in­te­rior roof leaks but no ma­jor dam­age.

Ge­orge Buff IV, a Mar-a-Lago mem­ber, said the worker re­ported three trees down and that the back park­ing lot at the club had ex­pe­ri­enced ma­jor flood­ing.

A drive by the prop­erty showed that the land­scap­ing had been thinned along the south wall, and the ball­room win­dows were in­tact. Veg­e­ta­tion lit­tered the road­way south of the club.

Palm Beach of­fi­cials con­firmed Mon­day that they had re­ceived no re­ports of struc­tural dam­age at the land­marked man­sion-turned-pri­vate club.

“Our emer­gency per­son­nel and other staff have made the rounds of the is­land since the storm hit, and no one has re­ported any ma­jor struc­tural prob­lems” to any build­ing, in­clud­ing Mar-a-Lago, said Mayor Gail Coniglio.

Pub­lic Safety Di­rec­tor Kirk Blouin said po­lice had not been called to the club’s South Ocean Boule­vard ad­dress in re­sponse to any prob­lems at Mar-a-Lago since Hur­ri­cane Irma made land­fall in the Florida Keys on Sun­day morn­ing.

Mar-a-Lago stands on about 17 acres that stretch be­tween the At­lantic Ocean and the In­tra­coastal Wa­ter­way.

The elab­o­rate Mediter­ranean-style man­sion com­pleted in 1927 has with­stood a num­ber of hur­ri­canes, thanks in part to its strong foun­da­tion. The build­ing is an­chored deep in the coral rock be­neath it.

Winds in Palm Beach as­so­ci­ated with Irma were largely lim­ited to trop­i­cal storm strength. But oc­ca­sional hur­ri­cane-strength gusts were pos­si­ble Sun­day and even early Mon­day as the storm made its way north on the op­po­site side of the state. Be­cause of the storm’s enor­mous size, wind and rain from it could be felt in Palm Beach.

Land­scap­ing through­out the is­land was dam­aged by the storm.

But the is­land was spared the mas­sive storm surge that had been pre­dicted when Irma’s track was closer to the east coast. Flood­ing from the In­tra­coastal Wa­ter­way did not pose a ma­jor prob­lem, Blouin con­firmed.

Win­dows at Mar-a-Lago were shut­tered, and the staff made other prepa­ra­tions last week once Irma’s forecast in­cluded South Florida.

Ce­real heiress Mar­jorie Mer­ri­weather Post and her fi­nancier hus­band, E.F. Hut­ton, built the man­sion as their win­ter home.

Trump bought it in the mid-1980s and lived there. He opened his club there a decade af­ter he bought the prop­erty and con­tin­ues to main­tain res­i­den­tial quar­ters for him­self and his fam­ily.

Richard Graulich / Daily News

Mar-a-Lago ap­pears to have suf­fered lit­tle dam­age from Hur­ri­cane Irma. Three trees fell and the back park­ing lot ex­pe­ri­enced flood­ing, a worker said.

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