July 17, 2019

High Season at Mar-a-Lago Is Over, but Concern Over Security Lingers

High Season at Mar-a-Lago Is Over, but Concern Over Security Lingers

In February, there was an event thrown by the Trumpettes, a booster group founded by several female members, in which Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of the Brazilian president, was asked to deliver an impromptu speech. This winter, Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign manager, spoke at a Wall Street-focused conference. And a pro-Israel political action committee hosted an event that drew the pastor Paula White, who was billed on the invitation as Mr. Trump’s spiritual adviser.

Initial costs just to get an event on the calendar can start around $125,000, according to an event contract reviewed by The New York Times — so people who host these events know that filling the ballroom is essential. Some organizers turned to Cindy Yang, who had made herself a fixture at ticketed events held in the club’s main ballroom and this season was helping a charity, Young Adventurers, plan a Safari Night event.

At the group’s Safari Night held last January, Ms. Yang filled several tables with people connected to her through a group of Asian Republicans, the guests paying at least $600 to dine on salads with edible flowers, peruse silent auction items and mingle with the president’s sister Elizabeth Trump Grau, who wore animal print. IDs were not checked at the door.

The night was a success, and as planning was underway for this year’s event, Terry W. Bomar of Young Adventurers estimated that about 40 percent of sign-ups were recruited through Ms. Yang’s wider network of Asian Republicans. But a prostitution sting and suspicions of espionage brought the planning to a halt.

After news emerged that Ms. Yang was a former owner of the Orchids of Asia spa in Jupiter, Fla., where Robert K. Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots and a frequent Mar-a-Lago guest, was arrested on accusations of paying for sex, Mr. Bomar said he canceled the event because of the negative publicity.

On top of that, Mr. Bomar said that Ms. Yang was selling bundles of tickets to his event and had helped advertise as a global leadership meeting, falsely claiming that the president’s sister would be the host.

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