Jupiter golf club trial ends with Eric Trump declaring: “We made it great again.”

Eric Trump, center, enters the Federal Courthouse in West Palm Beach Tuesday morning, August 16, 2016. Eric Trump, son of Donald Trump, is scheduled to testify in a trial accusing his father and him of pocketing $6 million in membership fees paid by members of Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Eric Trump, center, enters the Federal Courthouse in West Palm Beach Tuesday morning, August 16, 2016. Eric Trump, son of Donald Trump, is scheduled to testify in a trial accusing his father and him of pocketing $6 million in membership fees paid by members of Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Eric Trump, son of businessman-turned-Republican presidential candidate and part-time Palm Beacher Donald Trump, on Tuesday offered a full-throated defense of his father’s operation of Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter and blasted members who are suing as short-sighted and disingenuous.

“We made it great again,” he testified, showing no signs he was intentionally cribbing his father’s most famous campaign line.

“The irony about this case is we came in and invested a tremendous amount of money,” Eric Trump told U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra, who will be deciding the estimated $6 million breach of contract case. Further, he said, there is no question those who filed suit will get their money back.

“It’s not if your clients are going to be paid out,” Trump said, referring to the three men who filed a class-action suit on behalf of roughly 60 members to get back initiation fees, ranging from $35,000 to $210,000. “It’s when your clients are going be paid out.”

Trump was the last witness to testify in the trial that began Monday. Marra gave attorneys 30 days to file additional written materials. Then, he said, it is likely he would call them back to ask additional questions.

Since purchasing the financially troubled club in December 2012 from Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa, the Trump Organization pumped $25 million into the club on Donald Ross Road near Alternate A1A, he said. The improvements attracted more members which should have been welcome news to those who filed suit, Trump testified.

The more people join, the faster those on the resignation list move toward getting their money back. Under club rules, resigning members have to wait until new members join before they can get back their initiation fees. To protect the club, the rules require that about five members resign before a refund will be used to a former member. Sometimes the process can take years.

“The more people come in the faster, you accelerate the list,” Trump said. “There’s no question that over a period of time we’ve paid out a tremendous amount of people on the list.”.

Trump, who helps oversee 18 golf clubs his father’s company operates throughout the world, defended the Jupiter club’s policies that requires members who announced their intention of resigning to continue to pay between $6,000 and $20,000 annually in dues and $1,800 in food and beverage fees even though they are barred from using the club. Such policies are common at golf clubs, he said.

“It stabilizes cash flow but it also stabilizes operations for the entire facility,” he said. “Otherwise the choice would be to increase dues or decrease services for existing members.” That, he said, wouldn’t be fair.

But, under the Ritz-Carlton’s ownership, those who were on the resignation list were allowed to continue to use the club. That’s because the club, that was losing as much as $4.2 million annually, was desperate for cash, he said. Documents members signed make it clear they must continue to pay dues until a new member takes over their membership.

Attorney Bradley Edwards, who represents the members in the lawsuit, pointed out that Trump’s explanation of club policies have changed since he gave a deposition in April 2015. At that time, Trump insisted those on the resignation list were not denied entry unless they had outstanding bills.

” I have enough hubris to say I was wrong,” Trump said of his previous testimony.

A video deposition of Donald Trump was played in court yesterday, where he said the members of his Jupiter golf course who are s who suing him are just “angry people” he didn’t want in his club anyway.

» READ MORE from yesterday in court

 

» READ MORE about the trial