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September 24, 2009

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NIMBY: American town warns of legal action on Libyan tent

A SUBURBAN New York town is threatening criminal action if work continues at Donald Trump's estate, where the Libyan government pitched a tent that could be used by Moammar Gadhafi, the town's attorney said yesterday.

Inspectors planned to visit the property late yesterday in Bedford, about 64 kilometers north of Manhattan.

"If no activity has been undertaken, so far as either removing the tent or other equipment, or removing any individuals who may be residing in the tent, then we would proceed to take one of two types of enforcement actions," said attorney Joel Sachs, who represents the town.

He said a criminal summons could be served for violating town codes, or the town might "seek an injunction to have the tent taken down and individuals residing in the tent removed from the property."

Sachs said it was not clear what entity would be the target of any legal action. On Tuesday, officials found workers constructing the tent but could not communicate with them because they didn't speak English. They gave the stop work order to the property's caretaker.

The Trump Organization said Gadhafi would not be coming to the property and insisted that Trump has not rented property to him. But it said part of the estate "was leased on a short-term basis to Middle Eastern partners, who may or may not have a relationship to Mr Gadhafi."

A call to Trump's office requesting comment was not returned yesterday.

The flat-topped tent was not visible from the road yesterday.

Police closed off the area near the property's iron-gated entrance, which is located in a bucolic neighborhood of estates with stone walls and cobblestone driveways.

Sachs said Trump once proposed an 18-hole golf course on the site. Those plans fell through, and he's now seeking approval for "a high-end residential development" there.

A State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivity, said that the property was obtained for the duration of this week's United Nations General Assembly. The official said no one would stay there overnight.


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