Security, parking, garbage peeve Ivanka's neighbours

2017-03-25 14:32
President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House. (Evan Vucci, AP)

President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House. (Evan Vucci, AP)

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Washington - Residents of a posh Washington neighbourhood say Ivanka Trump and her family doesn't make for very good neighbours, hogging parking on an already crowded street and leaving trash bags rotting on the curb. A big part of the complaint - a huge security presence, with even a trip to the playground requiring three vans.

Neighbours of Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner and their three children have groused that sidewalks have been closed, public parking overrun and that the family and their staff can't even be bothered to learn the trash pickup schedule outside their $5.5m home.

"It has been a three-ring circus from the day that they've moved in," said Marietta Robinson, who lives across the street, speaking with The Associated Press. "They've completely ruined the neighbourhood."

The house in the Kalorama neighbourhood was bought in December by a company with ties to a Chilean billionaire. The company is renting it to Kushner and Trump, who moved in just after the inauguration of her father, President Donald Trump. Both work in the White House as advisers to the president.

Residents of the enclave of four- and five-storey townhouses and elegant single-family properties about near the White House are accustomed to VIP neighbours. Former President Barack Obama and his family have lived there since he left office, and the Secret Service closed off their entire block to traffic. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought a home there, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also moved in recently.

Yet no one has raised the ire of the community like the Trumps. At a recent neighbourhood commission meeting, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was among those who showed up to complain about parking problems.

Some in the neighbourhood have also complained about the family's rental arrangement. The company that owns the house didn't obtain a rental license for two months, securing one just this week after it was warned by city regulators.

"Maybe some of the upset has to do with politics a little. I couldn't say for sure, but I know that people don't seem to be upset about Tillerson's situation. It's much less intrusive," said Ellen Goldstein, an elected neighbourhood commissioner.

Large security presence 

The Secret Service has sole responsibility under law for protecting the family, but neighbours have noticed what they describe as an unusually large and aggressive security presence. Ivanka Trump arrives and departs in a four-vehicle motorcade, Robinson said.

"There are more of them than I have ever seen," Robinson wrote in a letter to Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser and other city officials. "Frequently several of them are milling outside of the house at all hours having conversations and staring meanly at anyone in view."

The letter - which also complained about parking, trash and noise - spurred the city government into action. On Friday morning, District transportation crews were outside the house, removing "No Parking" signs.

The department said no permits had been sought for parking exemptions or sidewalk closures on the street since Trump moved in. Yet vehicles associated with the Trump-Kushner house have been seen parking in the restricted areas for hours at a time, and barriers have been erected on the sidewalk in front of the house, forcing pedestrians to cross the street, next-door neighbour Rhona Wolfe Friedman said.

Even without extra restrictions, street parking for non-residents is limited to two hours.

"The parking patrol on Tracy Place has always been ultra-vigilant," Robinson wrote to the mayor. "Suddenly, the parking enforcement has disappeared."

A Secret Service spokesperson, Nicole Mainor, said agency officials met with neighbours and city officials on Friday morning and addressed their concerns about parking and other disruptions. She declined to answer specific questions about the level of protection the family receives, citing agency policy.

It's not clear whether Ivanka is aware of any complaints, saying in a statement emailed on Friday afternoon by an aide: "We love the neighbourhood and our family has received an incredibly gracious welcome from our neighbours."

Christopher Chapin, president of the neighbourhood council - who doesn't live as close as the neighbours who've complained - said all the attention is good for Kalorama.

"We are delighted to have political figures like the Obamas, the Kushners and the Tillersons living in our neighbourhood," he said.

Read more on:    ivanka trump  |  us

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