- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — The Libyan government has pitched a tent in suburban New York that leader Moammar Gadhafi may use for entertaining, according to a State Department official.

And it appears the property was rented from Donald Trump.

However, an attorney for the town of Bedford, around 43 miles north of Manhattan, said the town ordered work to be stopped at the site late Tuesday.

“We believe the erection of a tent on the … property violates several codes and laws of the town of Bedford,” Attorney Joel Sachs said.

Sachs said officials found workers constructing the tent but could not communicate with them because they didn’t speak English. He said they gave the order to stop the work to the property’s caretaker.

“There is no such thing as diplomatic immunity when it comes to complying with local laws and ordinances,” Sachs said. “This is a private piece of property and they have to comply with the laws of this municipality.”

Town officials will return to the site Wednesday to make sure the Libyans are complying with the order, Sachs said.

The State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivity and protocol concerns, said the property was obtained for the duration of this week’s United Nations General Assembly. The official said no one would be staying there overnight.

Meanwhile, Ghadafi’s motorcade arrived at the Libyan Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan, just blocks from U.N. headquarters Tuesday evening. Dozens of police and Secret Service officers blocked off the venue.

Several dozen pro-Gadhafi demonstrators rallied near the office building housing the mission, carrying his portraits and chanting pro-Libyan slogans.

No-parking signs were going up near Trump’s Seven Springs estate in Bedford, where residents include Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren. TV helicopters showed a tent on the Trump property. Police would not comment, and Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan would say only that the agency does not discuss the schedules or logistics of people it’s protecting.

As word got out, local officials quickly objected to Gadhafi’s anticipated presence. Gadhafi will likely face protests over Scotland’s recent release of Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270 people.

The Trump Organization said Gadhafi would not be coming to Trump’s estate and insisted that Trump has not rented property to him. But it said part of the estate “was leased on a short-term basis to Middle Eastern partners, who may or may not have a relationship to Mr. Gadhafi. We are looking into the matter.”

Gadhafi had wanted to pitch a tent at Libya’s five-acre estate in Englewood, N.J., and live and entertain there during the UN assembly. But local opposition turned him away.

Later, the Libyan government asked to use Manhattan’s Central Park for a tent, but the request was denied.

U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey said Gadhafi had shown a lack of remorse for the bombing and was “unwelcome throughout the New York area.”

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