When President Donald Trump conveyed his unprecedented desire to host next year's Group of Seven summit at his own luxury golf resort in Doral, Fla., it took mere hours for a 2016 lawsuit to resurface, raising questions about the property's cleanliness.
It was bedbugs, former guest Eric Linder alleged, that left him with "welts, lumps and marks over much of his face, neck, arms and torso," following a stay at the Jack Nicklaus Villa, considered to be one of Doral's most sumptuous rooms. The Trump Organization denied the claims and the case was settled a year later, but the president on Tuesday blamed Democrats for spreading the "false and nasty rumor."
Trump has touted the 643-room Doral club as an ideal fit for the 2020 summit because of its convenient location near the airport and commodious parking. Should his plan come into fruition, six of the world's leaders and hundreds of diplomats would reside at the "country's most magnificent golf resort" - which, according to local inspection reports, has a lengthy history of health-code violations.
No, investigators never found bedbugs. But the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations has discovered numerous problems in recent years, particularly inside the 800-acre club's various restaurants and kitchens. They range from minor complaints, such as dirty kitchen appliances, to more egregious violations like live roaches near ovens and food preparation areas.
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Doral's main kitchen
The resort's main kitchen has seen its share of problems - like in 2015, when it was ordered temporarily closed after an inspector found 20-30 "live, small flying insects" in the kitchen and dishwasher room, in addition to "20-25 live roaches on the walls, baseboards and floors" near a food prep area. It didn't help that several foods at the buffet that were supposed to be cold, including cheese, pork, fish and eggs, were served at temperatures more than 20 degrees too warm.
A year later, an inspector reported more than 40 small flies near a coffee station. A portion of the buffet featuring fruit, bread and yogurts, they wrote, lacked "adequate sneeze guards or other proper protection from contamination." This issue was noted in 2015 as well.
In 2017, an inspector docked the restaurant for six "high priority violations," including three trays with "cooked shrimp" that were 56 degrees too cool. Old food was found crusted onto clean dishware, a can opener and a beverage station.
An inspector observed at least one employee did not change their single-use gloves between tasks or after they got dirty.
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Champions Bar & Grill
Doral's sports bar - celebrated for its patio view and "upscale-casual atmosphere" - has been cited for numerous violations over the years, inspection reports show. In April 2015, the restaurant was handed a $200 fine when an inspector observed several "high priority" issues, among them: an employee who didn't wash their hands before they began to prepare food.
Cold food was stored at temperatures 10 degrees warmer than allowed, an inspector found, and one walk-in cooler that contained meat and dairy was too warm and needed repairs. Moreover, the reports cites "approximately 10 to 11 live roaches," in the kitchen that year, including several near the dishwasher and two behind ovens.
This was an apparent improvement over 2012, when inspectors reportedly found rodent droppings in addition to roaches in the kitchen.
A November 2016 inspection, conducted less than two weeks after Trump won the presidential election, found more than two dozens violations. The inspector again docked the restaurant for food temperature issues and cited caked-on food inside refrigerators, ovens and reach-in coolers.
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While discussing possible accommodations for next year's guests, Trump spoke of the "bungalows" - a "series of magnificent buildings" that each contain 50-70 rooms. According to inspection reports, however, the bungalows were flagged last year when an inspector found raw burgers and raw squids together in a cooler, "not properly separated from one another."
This was apparently a recurring issue over several years, dating back to at least 2014, when inspectors also cited the accumulation of food debris and green mold inside an ice machine and a beer nozzle at the bar.
The Doral, which Trump purchased in 2012 with the help of $125 million in loans from Deutsche Bank, supplies Trump with more revenue than any of his other hotels. The Trump Organization did not return a request for comment on Doral's inspection history Tuesday. Despite the resort's recurring issues, however, investigators found almost no problems during a May inspection.
The near-perfect grade this year could be a reflection of Trump's mission to host the 2020 G-7 summit at his resort, which one of his company representative said last year has "severely" underperformed compared to others in the area.
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The Washington Post's David A. Fahrenthold, John Wagner and Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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