NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was having a tent pitched on property owned by Donald Trump in suburban New York on Tuesday until local officials stopped the work because it violated regulations, a town attorney said.
Workers were erecting a tent and satellites on property in Bedford, New York, that belongs to the famed real estate developer Trump, said Bedford town attorney Joel Sachs.
A famously eccentric figure, Gaddafi is known for pitching a large Bedouin tent on his trips abroad. He was scheduled to attend the U.N. General Assembly this week.
Gaddafi last month had plans to erect a tent in suburban New Jersey, where the Libyan embassy owns property, but the U.S. government said he could not use the land for that purpose. A request to set up his tent in New York’s Central Park also was turned down.
A building inspector for Bedford tried to deliver a “stop work” order to workers at the scene but they did not speak English, so he gave the order to a property caretaker, Sachs said. It was unclear whether the work had stopped, Sachs said. The roof of a tent and ropes were visible from behind a stone wall in a photograph published on Tuesday by the website of the local newspaper Journal News.
A green and yellow fabric lined the walls in a pattern dotted with images of small brown camels. Two men in the picture identified themselves to the Journal News as Libyan security guards.
Bedford is a mere 13 miles (20 kilometers) from Chappaqua, the prestigious town where former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, the Secretary of State in the Obama administration, bought a home.
Trump issued a statement saying the property was leased on a short-term basis to Middle Eastern partners “who may or may not have a relationship to Mr. Gaddafi” and he was looking into the matter.