L.A. Unified cancels golf tournament at Trump-owned course
Los Angeles school district officials have canceled plans to hold a fundraising tournament at the Trump National Golf Club in response to comments made by Donald Trump about immigrants.
The L.A. Unified School District has asked the club, located in Rancho Palos Verdes, to return its $7,500 deposit. So far, the club has declined to refund the money, according to the school system.
No immediate response was available from management at the golf course.
The eighth annual Beyond the Bell Golf Classic is held to raise money in support of programs for students outside the traditional school day. The tournament, scheduled for Nov. 23, was expected to bring in as much $70,000 for academic, music and other classes and activities.
The district is looking for an alternate venue.
“There was absolutely no reason to host our largest fundraiser at a Trump facility after Donald Trump shared negative immigration comments,” said Alvaro Cortés, executive director of Beyond the Bell, which he described as “dedicated to serve the underrepresented and uplift underprivileged communities of Los Angeles.”
A wealthy entrepreneur with far-flung, diverse holdings, Trump is known for his blunt, shoot-from-the-hip style. When he declared his bid for the U.S. presidency in June, he made remarks about what he’d learned from border guards.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
This week Trump attempted to clarify his comments, saying that he blamed the Mexican government, not the “fabulous” Mexican people.
“Tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world,” Trump’s statement said. “On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally.”
Trump added: “I have great respect for Mexico and love their people and their peoples’ great spirit. The problem is, however, that their leaders are far smarter, more cunning and better negotiators than ours… The Mexican government is not our friend.”
Univision and NBC have canceled plans to broadcast beauty pageants associated with Trump; Macy’s announced it has discontinued a line of Trump clothing. NASCAR also has cut ties with Trump. And PGA of America, the professional golf association, won’t stage this year’s Grand Slam Tournament at the Rancho Palos Verdes course.
L.A. Unified provided recent correspondence with the golf course management.
“Donald Trump’s recent negative immigration remarks have put our golf tournament fundraising efforts in a very bad predicament,” community outreach coordinator Cynthia Montalban wrote on June 29. “We have received major push-back from major sponsors, golfers and our guest of honor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.”
She added that 80% of district students come from low-income immigrant families: “Under the current circumstances, planning a successful fundraiser at Trump National seems impossible.”
In an email, Joey Lewis, the course’s head golf professional, replied that the district would not get a refund.
“At this point in the year we will be unable to resell the date, and unfortunately retaining the deposit,” Lewis wrote on June 30. “In the terms of the agreement, the deposit is nontransferable and nonrefundable.” He added: “I’m terribly sorry [about] the decision to host the event elsewhere and we hope to have the opportunity to work with Beyond the Bell again in the future.”
In a July 2 response, an attorney from L.A. Unified threatened legal action over the deposit, saying a cancellation clause should apply.
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