Ronald Kessler, former Washington Post and investigative journalist of Wall Street Journal, is the bestselling author of The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game and The Season: Inside Palm Beach and America & Richest Society. Kessler and his wife have regularly attended the Red Cross and are also regulars at Mar-a-Lago as guests of Trump
The American Red Cross refuses to disclose the financial results after it has dumped Trump's Mar-a-Lago as location for its International Red Cross and held the revered event at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm instead. Beach, Florida.
The city of Palm Beach requires charity events to announce their financial results.
Data show that when the Red Cross ball was held in Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in 2017, it earned $ 570,000 in costs, $ 496,445 in 2016 and $ 925,000 in 2015.
The event would clearly have suffered from a steep fall in revenue, since Mar-a-Lago can count 750 guests compared to the 400 guests the museum can accommodate.
The decision to change location came after Trump made comments in August 2017 that were considered racist about the violence in Charlottesville, and said that there were & # 39; very fine people on both sides & # 39; goods.
The American Red Cross will not disclose its proceeds for its fundraising ball at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida in February (pictured photo) after switching from Mar-a-Lago. The event would have clearly suffered a steep drop in revenue since Mar-a-Lago can accommodate 750 guests compared to the 400 guests the museum can accommodate
Financial results show that when the Red Cross ball was held in Mar-a-Lago (photo) in 2017, it earned $ 570,000 after expenses, $ 496,445 in 2016 and $ 925,000 in 2015. On the photo: President Trump and Melania attending the Red Cross ball in 2017
Many of the demonstrators at the Unite the Right rally were self-proclaimed neo-Nazis and white supremacists, others opposed the decline of status of Southern General Robert E. Lee and the rest were counter-demonstrators of the right-wing groups.
Laurel Baker, the executive director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, publicly called for charity events to stop the planning of events in Mar-a-Lago.
& # 39; If you have a conscience, condone your bad behavior by staying there & # 39 ;, Baker told the Palm Beach Post.
& # 39; Many say it is the dollars (picked up at the events) that count. Yes. But the integrity of every organization is based on sound decisions and stewardship. & # 39;
That prompted the Red Cross ball and ultimately 21 other charities to cancel their events at Mar-a-Lago.
Because there was not enough time to reserve a new place, the Red Cross did not hold the ball in 2018, which caused the organization to dispose of the necessary funds for disaster relief and other charitable activities.
After the event moved to the recently expanded Norton in February of this year, disclosure of the fund-raising amount was no longer available because West Palm Beach does not require such disclosures by charities.
The decision to change location came after President Trump made comments in August 2017 that were racist about violence in Charlottesville, saying that there are & # 39; very fine people on both sides & # 39; goods. Pictured: President Trump and Melania visiting the Red Cross ball in 2017
Pictured: Ronald Kessler (center) with his wife Pamela (left) and president of the American Red Cros Bonnie McElveen-Hunter (right) at the 2016 International Red Cross Ball in Mar-a-Lago
But because the Norton has 46 percent fewer guests than Mar-a-Lago, the event clearly suffered a sharp fall in revenue.
Unlike Mar-a-Lago, which offers valet parking where guests can get out of their cars under their awnings, the Norton event did not offer a parking service.
Guests parked in the parking lot of the museum across the building and had to climb the busy South Dixie Highway with their tuxedos and evening dresses in the middle of a downpour.
When DailyMail.com contacted the American Red Cross for the financial results of this year's event, the organization said in a statement: “The American Red Cross is grateful to everyone who supports our life-saving mission – it doesn't matter through donations of time, money or blood.
& # 39; The International Red Cross ball is supported by generous donors in an effort to raise substantial amounts for the life-saving mission of the Red Cross, and our standard Red Cross business practices do not include the public release of spending breakdowns or contract details. & # 39;
The South Florida region of the American Red Cross issued a press release in April stating that it held three gala events, including those at the Norton, which "collected more than $ 2 million for the three charity events."
An April press release said the Norton gala was one of three events that raised & # 39; over $ 2 million & # 39; but failed to specify that this figure was before expenses were deducted. Pictured: this year's fundraiser at Norton
Unlike Mar-a-Lago, which offers valet parking under awnings, the Norton event did not offer a parking service. Guests parked in the parking lot of the museum across the building and had to crawl into their tuxedos and evening dresses in the middle of a rainstorm. Pictured: the Red Cross gala at the Norton Museum of Art
But the release could not specify that the figure was before the costs were deducted.
Based on the archives at the Palm Beach city administrator, just over half of the proceeds from the Red Cross ball finally come to the Red Cross.
The Red Cross at the Norton was announced as a & # 39; greeting to the army & # 39; in honor of those who serve their country and the sacrifices their families make during their efforts.
The event on the Norton was the 61st annual International Red Cross Ball, the main charity event in Palm Beach, where the richest people in America buy country houses to show their success and enjoy the sultry breezes during the winter months.
The ball was founded in 1957 by the graffiti mother Marjorie Merriweather Post, who also built Mar-a-Lago, a Mediterranean-style complex in 128 rooms and 62,500 square meters. The ball becomes & # 39; international & # 39; mentioned because ambassadors representing countries from all over the world are invited and exhibited as guests.
For full disclosure, my wife Pamela Kessler and I regularly attended the Red Cross at $ 2000 per pair and as guests of John Yurtchuk, a co-chair of the event and one of the greatest benefactors of the ball. We are also regular guests in Mar-a-Lago as guests of the president, but pay for food and parties.
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