Donald Trump has withdrawn his proposal to take over management of the public waterfront golf course on Key Biscayne’s Crandon Park.
The move came after Trump’s bid hit a snag last week when County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime recommended rejecting Trump’s unsolicited proposal. The recommendation was likely to pass at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
Ed Russo, a Trump aide heading the effort, notified Monestime of the withdrawal in an email late Friday and asked for the item to be pulled from Tuesday’s agenda.
“Please let this letter serve to represent a withdrawal of our offer to make multi-million dollar improvements to the Crandon Golf Course, clubhouse, and related facilities,” Russo wrote. “Mr. Trump felt that this would be a wonderful development for the community, especially after the rave reviews he received for the rebuilding of Trump National Doral.”
Trump had planned to spend $10 million on upgrades — a rehab opponents have said is unnecessary for the well-regarded course — in exchange for a management deal that would give him control of the course for 99 years. Trump had discussed the idea with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez before, and Trump submitted his proposal last summer. The Miami Herald made the bid public in February.
Monestime had the power to make a recommendation after Gimenez recused himself from the matter because his son is lawyer and registered lobbyist for Trump in Doral.
Saturday afternoon, Russo said Monestime’s recommendation did not come as a surprise.
“I talked to Chairman Monestime several times during this process, and the county appears to want to establish their own RFP (request for proposals) regarding the improvement at Crandon,” he said. “It may work out better. It may be a better process.”’
Last week, Monestime’s office did not comment on the possibility of public solicitation for an operator for Crandon.
Such a change would need more than a public bid and county approval. Due to an agreement with the Matheson family, who once owned the land, family member Bruce Matheson has authority over park decisions. He recently questioned why the park needed to be revamped, citing a recent South Florida Business Journal ranking of local golf courses. Crandon came in at No. 3, with the rest of the top five slots filled by Trump courses.