Borrowed from The Huffington Post Sam Stein, Marcus Baram, and Nico Pitney
First Posted: 09-22-09 12:45 PM Updated: 09-22-09 09:53 PM
The Libyan government has pitched a tent in suburban New York that leader Moammar Gadhafi may use for entertaining, according to a State Department official. The bedouin-style tent is on Donald Trump's estate, according to the Journal News.
However, an attorney for the town of Bedford, around 43 miles north of Manhattan, told the Journal News that the town ordered work to be stopped at the site late Tuesday because no permits were sought for the temporary residence.
Attorney Joel Sachs said officials found workers constructing the tent but could not communicate with them because they didn't speak English. He said they gave the order to stop the work to the property's caretaker. Sachs did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday evening.
Muammar Gaddafi is making preparations to stay at the Bedford, New York, estate owned by Donald Trump during the Libyan leader's visit to the United States this week, a source with direct knowledge of the arrangement tells the Huffington Post.
Gaddafi's Bedouin-style tent, the source says, is to be pitched on the lavish Seven Springs property that Trump has owned since 1995. An aide to Trump denied the report. It is "totally untrue," said Rhona Graff, a spokesman for the real estate mogul.
Pressed whether Gaddafi was planning to stay at Seven Springs, Graff only said that the Libyan leader wasn't there currently. "He is not there to my knowledge," she said. "He is not there." The spokeswoman noted that Seven Springs is not Trump's primary residence, though neighbors said that his children spend time there regularly.
The source who knew about the arrangement, who is a resident of Bedford, says that Gaddafi's people are already in the process of setting up a tent, though plans could potentially be upended by bad publicity. ABC News reported earlier on Tuesday that Gaddafi had indeed chosen the posh New York suburb as the site of his stay during his visit while he attends the United Nations General Assembly. The news organization did not specify where in Bedford he was staying. Another resident in the town told the Huffington Post that a news helicopter was now visible over Seven Springs.
Officials in Bedford are being tight-lipped about the arrangement. A spokesperson for the Bedford Hills police department declined to comment on the matter. "I'm not going to confirm or deny anything," said Sgt. Tom Diebold, referring the Huffington Post to the Secret Service. Calls there were not immediately returned.
By settling in Bedford, Gaddafi has apparently put to end a bruising and lengthy search for a place to stay during his week in the United States. The Libyan leader had tried to pitch his famous tent in Manhattan's Central Park, but city officials rejected his request. Earlier Gaddafi had tried to set up a temporary residence in Englewood, New Jersey, only to run into opposition from the local mayor and other officials. His efforts to book a hotel room in New York City -- including the Helmsley Hotel and the Pierre -- were equally fruitless, leading to speculation that Gaddafi would simply stay at the home of Libya's ambassador to the U.N. while in town.
The 213-acre Seven Springs estate one of the gems in the Trump portfolio. The spot, which sits atop the high point of Bedford, includes a 39,000-square-foot mansion and was formerly owned by the Rockefeller family.