What brings PBSO to Trump’s golf club? Wayward tourists, selfie seekers and more


The act of vandalism last week at Trump International Golf Course is one of seven incidents reported at the suburban West Palm Beach site to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in the past five months that were serious enough to warrant action by deputies.

Some had nothing to do with the fact that the course's owner and namesake is president of the United States. Some did. 

In response to a records request by The Palm Beach Post, the sheriff's office reported 83 log entries since Nov. 1 for the club on Summit Boulevard, west of Congress Avenue.

Most calls are listed as "special detail," presumably related to security for President Donald Trump, who has made several winter weekend visits to the Mar-a-Lago compound in Palm Beach. 

The most serious incident so far was the splashing of red paint on the entrance sign on the evening of March 31. The president had spent about seven hours at the club that day, on his second visit there since arriving two days earlier for Easter weekend.

Read The Post’s latest news on President Trump in Palm Beach

A Trump-related corporation operates the course on land leased from the county, and the U.S. Secret Service is the lead agency on the vandalism investigation, although a PBSO crime-scene technician collected evidence for the federal agency. Sources said anyone linked to the crime likely would face local charges of criminal mischief.

A Secret Service spokeswoman repeated Thursday that the agency still is investigating the incident.

Of the other six calls, one was for a fender-bender and the rest involved people finding themselves on the property without permission.

The first report says that at about 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20, the night before Trump was to arrive for the long Thanksgiving break, security officers found a couple in the clubhouse. 

The two, from Pennsylvania, said they’d been visiting a relative in the Lantana area and, after hearing Trump would be visiting, wanted to see if they could get a look at places he’d be. The husband, 34, said he pulled up to the course and saw the gate open. Presuming the club was public, he parked across the street at the Palm Beach County Library’s main branch, and the couple walked into the golf club. 

A deputy wrote that the man said he and his wife, 31, were “are tourists and voted for Trump and wanted me to know they didn't mean any harm.” The report said a deputy gave the two a trespass warning, meaning the next time they came in, they were subject to arrest. The couple said they understood and left.

At about 3 p.m. Dec. 30 — Trump was having an extended Christmas vacation in Palm Beach — a 33-year-old woman named Jessica was found wandering the course. She admitted she'd jumped the fence "so she could meet President Donald Trump." The woman also said she had a history of mental problems and was not taking her medications. After getting the same trespass warning, the woman said she was homeless and got a deputy to give her a ride to the Burger King restaurant at Forest Hill Boulevard and Military Trail.

And at about 8 a.m. Jan. 8  — Trump wasn’t in town — deputies handled a minor rear-end collision in front of the course. No one was hurt. 

At about 10 p.m. Jan. 16 — Trump had left the previous day  following the long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend — security reported finding a woman there in a black Mercedes. The 59-year-old woman told deputies she could not take care of herself and her sister had guardianship. She also was given a trespass warning. 

On Feb. 20 — Trump had left the previous day after spending the Presidents’ Day weekend in Palm Beach — security found a man sleeping on one of the golf course’s greens. The 24-year-old man appeared confused and first said he'd been dropped off at the course, then said he wasn't sure how he got there. Then he said he believed he was in New York, then changed that to Key West. He said he'd previously lived in what he called "a nuthouse." The report said he was taken somewhere — the information's blacked out — for a medical evaluation. 

And at about 3 p.m. March 31, hours before the vandalism incident, security officers spotted two men walking into the golf club. The men said they wanted to "get a photograph with President Donald Trump." The two also received a trespass warning.

Staff writer George Bennett contributed to this story.


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