City park weddings are cramping Trump’s style

It can cost $150,000 to get married at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, a price tag befitting its namesake.

But at $585 for city residents and $915 for nonresidents, couples can get a similarly spectacular ocean view while saying their vows at a small city park next to the golf course.

Now Trump, which manages Founders Park rentals for the city, either wants out of the discount wedding business or to raise the price for a three-hour ceremony in the city park to $2,670 for residents and $3,000 for nonresidents.

Of that, $2,250 would go to the golf course.


David Conforti, Trump’s general manager, informed the city in a letter that the golf course is losing money on the current deal. He said that because people say they are getting married at “the Trump,” guests assume they have the same use of the facilities as the $300-a-round golfers and those paying full fare to get married at “the Trump.”

Wedding guests, he wrote, take over locker rooms, wander around the golf course, annoy people by taking group photos and get rowdy.

Bridal parties, Conforti added, “naturally expect to be able to use the facility with little regard to other guests.”

Tom Odom, the city’s interim director of recreation and parks, said it might be time for Founders Park to divorce itself from the wedding business.


Trump has been managing the park rentals for the last three years, but its contract ran out in December and Odom’s recommendation was pulled off the City Council agenda this week so staff members could negotiate with the golf club, Mayor Steve Wolowicz said.

Donald Trump’s relationship with Rancho Palos Verdes has been a rocky one almost from the beginning.

He wanted the city to rename Ocean Trails Drive to Trump National Drive, not surprising to some who see Trump as a man with an ego as big as his golf course.

He sued the school district over the lease on land it owned in the golf course and planted ficus trees -- illegally, it turned out -- to block from view homes he deemed unsightly.

And he erected a 70-foot flagpole flying a nearly 400-square-foot flag, setting himself up for a fight with the California Coastal Commission.

Most recently, he sued the city for $100 million, accusing it of fraud and civil rights violations.

“His persona is not a public secret,” the mayor said. “That manner has continued in his relationship with our community. He is a very forceful person, and when something doesn’t agree with him, he doesn’t hesitate to file a lawsuit, and he is contentious.”

But Wolowicz said many of Conforti’s complaints about the city park weddings seem reasonable. “We need to address what is fair to everybody concerned,” he said.


Conforti did not return phone calls, but in an e-mail he said, “I’ve had very constructive dialogue with the city staff and we are moving ahead together toward establishing a plan for the future of weddings in the park.”

In the last two years, there have been 40 weddings at the park, providing the city with $15,500. The 5.5-acre park sits behind Trump’s clubhouse.

One of the difficulties at Founders Park, Odom said, is that it’s just a plot of grass and trails, with only a few benches and no bathrooms.

There are only 50 parking spots and people who get married there must make arrangements for chairs, catering, valet parking and other amenities -- although they can contract through Trump.