No charity with an ounce of integrity is left on the Mar-a-Lago calendar for the upcoming social season.
With socialite Lois Pope‘s LIFE Foundation confirming yesterday it will not spend any more money in President Donald Trump‘s private Palm Beach club and move its well attended gala elsewhere, the leftovers are mostly second-rate organizations that few care about.
Except for one.
The Palm Beach Police Foundation this week refused to leave Mar-a-Lago in the wake of Trump’s hesitation in deciding that white supremacists are the bad guys. It will have its high-profile, $1 million-Jan. 6 gala at Marjorie Merryweather Post‘s old haunt.
That’s a huge mistake: The non-move will shed the national attention on the Policemen’s Ball, and that’s the last thing the non-profit wants.
The Palm Beach Police Foundation, you see, presents a classic case of the conflict of interest for the town of Palm Beach.
It’s little wonder the foundation would cozy up to Trump, a man who doesn’t understand the words “conflict of interest.”
But now, the public at large will find out just why an overwhelming number of people arrested in Palm Beach are visitors to the island, not residents.
Officially, the Policemen’s Ball and all its bells and whistles — including the bagpipers, color guards and neighbor Rod Stewart among the guests — is a way for Palm Beach’s richest to thank its police force.
Last year, the gala raised more than $1 million for the families of injured Palm Beach cops and scholarships for the children of Palm Beach officers.
ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
And, according to the latest federal non-profit filings, the foundation now has $4 million in the bank — all of it, a slush fund for a department with fewer than 40 cops.
There’s always been a special relationship between Palm Beach police and those they protect.
The unwritten rule is that island residents rarely get arrested.
It’s not rare for rich drunks to get a ride home instead of a ride to jail. And it’s not rare for cops to live at the home of some foundation donors during the summer — free of charge, mind you — so that the sprawling properties don’t get burglarized.
For those reasons, the island’s highest-profile residents, including The Donald, attend the ball.
And many join the foundation board, including cable TV and cell phone pioneer John Scarpa alongside the likes of energy billionaire Bill Koch and socialite Michele Kessler.
Still, there’s something unholy about those who are supposed to enforce laws getting a handout from those who are supposed to follow the law: The gala-raised cash is nothing more than a legal bribe, insurance for police action against residents.
Consider this: According to booking information at the county jail, 160 people were arrested by Palm Beach Police so far this year.
Of those, ONLY 10 listed Palm Beach as their residence as 150 non-Palm Beachers have been hauled to jail through Aug. 25! And that’s in a town where the population swells to 30,000 in winter.
Damn straight that the foundation ball has an effect on the community!
Don’t take this the wrong way: We’re not against cops getting kudos from the citizenry.
We are among those who believe local law enforcers outside of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office are underpaid.
But while most departments deliver their attaboys with trophies and barbecues, Palm Beach residents do it with millions of the dollars.
In many respects, it’s gross.
And now that the police foundation insists on holding its gala at Mar-a-Lago, the rest of the world will soon find out.