Donald Trump finally got his key to the city of Doral.
Mayor Luigi Boria presented Trump with the award on Wednesday morning, the opening day of the WGC-Cadillac Championship during the unveiling of the Arnold Palmer villa at his resort — Trump National Doral.
When and where Trump would get this key has been a mystery since the council voted 4-1 in favor of it in late January.
“I feel so proud,” Boria said. “On behalf of the residents of the city of Doral, and on behalf of our city council, to give you the keys of the city of Doral because I think you deserve it. Thank you for what you’ve done.”
Trump’s adult children — Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric — were by his side when Boria came up to the podium and surprised the honoree with the key.
“Wow, I didn’t know this,” Trump said. “Thank you very much to the city and to the council. We’ve been such great friends.”
Trump, the real estate magnate and reality TV star, has been a big part of Doral’s history. Many people attribute rising property values in the city to his renovated resort. Since 2012, Trump has poured in more than $250 million for renovations of the old Doral Golf Resort & Spa.
He bought the 50-year-old property and four of its five golf courses out of bankruptcy for $150 million and delivered a massive overhaul. Boria cited that Trump deserves recognition because of job opportunities the resort has brought to the city; he also called Trump’s resort an “economic engine.”
The key’s journey from the city into Trump’s hands is an intricate tale.
On Jan. 12 — two weeks before Trump brought the Miss Universe pageant to Doral — Boria put in a request for the council to consider giving a key to both Trump and the president of Miss Universe. But later that day, he retracted his request for Trump’s key.
He originally explained his change of mind by saying “Trump doesn’t deserve my key. I think it’s appropriate for Miss Universe and the Miss Universe organization to have the key. It doesn’t make sense for Trump to have one.”
However, the next day he said his retraction was actually because of the timing of the request; tensions have been rising between council members and residents because of Trump and the Miss Universe pageant. Still later, he released a statement saying that he looked forward to bringing these requests to the City Council in the near future.
“Mr. Donald Trump´s investments have been extraordinary, creating jobs and moving our economy forward. He deserves not one but many keys to the City,” he said.
The majority of the council agreed with the mayor that Trump deserved this recognition.
But the billionaire’s relationship with Doral isn’t without its bumps.
On Feb. 12, he filed a lawsuit accusing the city of having an “unconstitutional” noise ordinance. The suit was in response to the more than 100 violations the city’s code compliance department has issued to Trump’s resort since August 2014 — the bulk of the violations are for making “unreasonably loud noise,” regarding Trump performing grass care, mowing and maintenance activities,” records show.
At the time, he told the Miami Herald he didn’t know whether the lawsuit would interfere with him getting a key to Doral.
“If it does, this is much more important,” he said. “They may be giving me the key to the city, but I have not been treated right.”
Days later, he dropped the lawsuit.
“In good faith, we have decided to voluntarily withdraw our lawsuit against the City, and we look forward to productive discourse regarding this matter,” said Ed Russo, a Trump representative in South Florida.
On Wednesday, Boria said he couldn’t think of a better time to give Trump his award.
“It was an opportunity, and I couldn’t find a better time,” he said. “I think its great. I don’t see why not.”
Council members told the Miami Herald they learned about the ceremony late Tuesday night.