RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. - Donald Trump has upset his upscale peninsula neighbors - again.
First he erected an unauthorized 70-foot flagpole at his Trump National Golf Club, then he built a tee 8 feet higher than allowed. There was also a mysterious but illegal freeway sign pointing to the ocean bluff golf course.
Now, it's ficus trees. Hundreds of them. Planted without city permission in rows to screen the driving range from multimillion-dollar homes. Affluent peninsula neighbors are fuming.
"I laughed out loud - maybe I shouldn't have - it's either laugh or cry," Councilman Doug Stern said. "It seems like this is a cultural trait within their organization."
Trump downplayed the latest controversy.
"It was done for two purposes: beautification and safety," he said of the two rows of trees. About 45 of them are 12 feet tall, and another 300 are about 6 feet high.
"They're bushes - they look beautiful, and everybody loves them. We have not had one complaint," the billionaire real estate developer said.