Mar-a-Lago sold tickets to New Year's Eve party with Trump
The private club owned by the president-elect sold hundreds of tickets to the party the Trump family will attend.
Mar-a-Lago, the pricey private resort in Palm Beach, Florida, sold hundreds of tickets at more than $500 a piece to an annual New Year's Eve extravaganza planned for Saturday night that will feature a very special guest: the president-elect of the United States of America and his family.
President-elect Donald Trump owns the members-only luxury resort, which each year sells tickets to swank parties it throws on holidays and special occasions, including New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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Saturday's formal event is scheduled to include a cocktail hour in the resort's living room and patio area, followed by dinner and dancing until 1 a.m. in its grand ballroom to live music performed by the band Party on the Moon, according to Sean Spicer, Trump's incoming White House press secretary.
Spicer, on a Friday morning conference call with reporters, said the party is already "sold out" with more than 800 people scheduled to attend, including actor Sylvester Stallone and music producer Quincy Jones, in addition to Trump, his wife, incoming first lady Melania Trump, and their son Barron Trump.
A person who travels in Palm Beach society circles said that tickets to the party were being sold for $525 each for members and $575 each for guests.
Trump's transition team declined to comment on the ticket prices.
Incoming White House Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks rejected criticisms that Mar-a-Lago was selling access to the president-elect.
"The transition is not concerned about the appearance of a conflict," she said. "This is an annual celebratory event at the private club, like others that have continued to occur since the election. Additionally, the president cannot and does not have a conflict."
While the party is a longstanding event at Mar-a-Lago, with Trump now president-elect, the arrangement could raise further questions about Trump's businesses and how people might try to use them to gain access to his administration.
Facing questions about the conflicts of interest presented by his business entanglements at home and abroad, Trump has indicated that he plans to delegate the management of his businesses to his two adult sons and shutter his much-criticized charitable foundation.
Those pledges have failed to satisfy ethics experts and Democrats, though, who are demanding that he divest his assets to eliminate the conflicts of interest they present.
In particular, critics have seized on reports that diplomats plan to stay at his hotel in Washington, D.C., to charge that foreign governments may try to curry favor with his administration through doing business with his many properties.
His second son, Eric Trump, also said he will suspend fundraising for his charity. The foundation raised eyebrows when it initially offered a lunch with the president-elect's daughter Ivanka for charitable auction and several people entered the bid to talk to her about the incoming administration's policies.
As for the upcoming New Year's party, the business manager of the company decorating for the event said it "feels a little different" given Trump's "new position."
"We're excited, we're honored. We've done it for the past two years, so this year feels a little different with [Trump's] new position," Steve Levine of Jose Graterol Designs told The Palm Beach Post. "It will be elegant and sophisticated, unique. We never repeat a party, so it's always different."