It has been revealed that Donald Trump’s green-keeper Paul O’Conner, head-hunted by the multi-millionaire tycoon to look after his planned Aberdeenshire golf resort, is to have no further involvement with the project.
Indications from residents and their supporters are that the departure was motivated by Trump’s tactics in trying to convince resident land-owners to sell up in order that he can extend his golf course and resort.
An accusation that large mounds of earth have been dumped outside of residents’ houses or bordering their land in order to intimidate those who live in the development area, might be the reason for O’Conner’s walk-out say residents.
In a statement, Trump’s spokeswoman said he had left “for personal and family reasons”. It is thought that O’Conner had declined to build a mound of earth behind the home of David Milne, one of the residents who refused to sell their house and land to Mr Trump.
O’Conner himself declined to comment on his reasons for leaving.
There has been an ongoing conflict between residents and Trump, who gained approval to build two golf courses and hundreds of luxury homes on the site in Aberdeenshire in 2008.
The suggestion is that Donald Trump is trying to force the remaining residents to give up their homes (he has certainly said that he would like them to sell). But while there is, what Martin Glegg (who helps run the ‘Trip Up Trump’ group opposed to the development) calls a “subtle” and ongoing harassment of the residents, Aberdeenshire council said:
“There is currently no live request by the developer for Aberdeenshire Council to make use of compulsory purchase powers in relation to properties on the Menie Estate.
“Should a formal request be made for Aberdeenshire Council to use such powers, this would be a matter for the full Council to consider.”
Glegg also expressed distaste at the fact that local press had not covered the awarding to Trump of an honorary degree from the RGU and said the group had turned to alternative outlets to get their message heard, like Facebook.
Susan Munroe, one of the four residents affected by the Trump development spoke to Edinburgh Napier News of her and other resident’s intimidation. She had a field next to her house bulldozed, which she claimed was not part of the current plans for the development of the site. The bulldozing was stopped, but now “it is just a field of sand.”
As well as the mound of earth that went up around David Milne’s home Munroe also has a mound of earth around her home erected by Trump; speaking to her over the phone she said
“I am looking into a bank of sandy earth, looking out of my window here, exactly the length of my house he’s put it.”
The mound of earth around Susan’s house is 12 feet high by her reckoning, but the one now around David Milne’s house is 20 feet, which appeared shortly after Trump arrived in Scotland to check on the developments’ progress. Perhaps reflecting bitterness between O’Conner and Trump over the parting of the two, Susan said she had seen Trump and she “thought he looked unhappy, hands in pockets when he was here”
Glegg and Munroe both expressed dissatisfaction with the way that the media was responding to and reporting their plight, and suggested that the Press and Journal as well as other local publications were ignoring the intimidation that the residents are being subjected to.