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How a Donald Trump Golf Course Is Screwing Over a Public School


How a Donald Trump Golf Course Is Screwing Over a Public School

Former President Donald Trump and his business empire always fight aggressively to come out on top—and this time, the sucker on the other end of the deal is a public school district.

For seven years, the Trump National Golf Club Westchester just north of New York City battled with the local government to lower its property tax bill—while simultaneously inflating its value elsewhere by millions. Then in August, emboldened by another golf club’s victory in court, the Trump club pressured locals to strike a deal and cut its assessed value by a third.

That means the Trump club can claim it overpaid taxes, so local governments are forking over cash. But of all the local entities stuck paying fat refund checks worth about $850,000, the worst hit was the tiny suburban Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District. The public education system—which consists of a single elementary, middle, and high school—has picked up the biggest tab, worth $588,155.12.

One local official involved in the process told The Daily Beast that the schools won’t be making any cuts, instead just passing along the higher costs to people who actually live in the area.

“This is freaking annoying that a scoundrel won’t pay taxes. My taxes are higher because his taxes are lower,” said the official, who wasn’t allowed to speak publicly.

It’s a small zone, so locals are more likely to actually feel it. With only 2,399 parcels on the books in the village of Briarcliff, taxpayers will be shelling out an extra $245 on average next year—depending on their property value.

“It’s significant in the sense that this has to be made up by all the other residents that pay taxes, and most of them would not have approved a golf course that they would eventually have to subsidize,” said Fernando Gonzalez, the tax assessor for the local town of Ossining.

“Anything Trump-related is despicable and/or corrupt,” said Marie Chalita, a homeowner in Briarcliff Manor who told The Daily Beast she is “not happy about paying it.”

This Trump deal is the reason the Briarcliff school board was forced to increase its budget by 1 percent in October, when…

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