BEDFORD, New York – Libyan officials pitched a tent again on Donald Trump's suburban estate Thursday a day after it was taken down, prompting town officials to threaten criminal and court action again.
A Libyan official, Khalifa Khalifa, said the tent was legal and meant to honor Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, who never came to the 213-acre Seven Springs estate to stay there.
"The tent is a symbol for the country and the president. It goes up everywhere they go," he said.
Bedford officials arrived at the home early Thursday evening with a stop-work order and a criminal summons. The white-topped tent — lined with a tapestry of camels and palm trees and outfitted with leather couches and coffee tables — was dismantled Wednesday after town officials said it was erected without permits and Trump said he requested it be removed.
Town attorney Joel Sachs said he'd seek a court injunction if the tent hadn't been removed by Friday. Reporters were escorted off the property Thursday before the tent was taken down.
Trump said earlier Thursday that he had "no idea" that Qaddafi might be involved in a deal to rent a section of Trump's estate, a town official said.
Bedford Town Supervisor Lee Roberts said Trump told her Wednesday that as far as he knew, his arrangement was with partners in the United Arab Emirates and he was unaware of a Qaddafi connection.
As it turned out, the Libyan government erected a tent on Trump's Seven Springs estate for Qaddafi's use during this week's United Nations General Assembly.
Townspeople and local politicians fumed about an anticipated visit from Gadhafi, and the town alleged that the tent violated local codes.
Trump's office issued a statement late Wednesday saying that he had asked his unidentified "tenant" to remove the tent, and that the tenant had complied. He and the Secret Service said Qaddafi would not be coming to Bedford.
Roberts praised Trump for "defusing the issue." Sachs, however, suggested Thursday that Trump's action may have had something to do with Sachs' threat to take him to court.
"At 2:30 p.m. yesterday, I spoke to Trump and told him that if they did not dismantle the tent, we would commence criminal prosecution," he said. "And the only party we could name as a defendant would be the Trump Organization."
Qaddafi addressed the General Assembly on Wednesday, making waves by saying the U.N. Security Council "should not be called the Security Council, it should be called the 'terror council."' Demonstrators criticized him for giving an effusive welcome home last month to the Libyan convicted of the bombing Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988.
Qaddafi gave a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday afternoon in Manhattan.
The dismantling of the tent meant another failed attempt to find a place for the Libyan leader to spend time while in the New York area. Requests for space in Central Park, Englewood, N.J., and Manhattan's Upper East Side were all rejected. Qaddafi stayed at the city's Libyan Mission after arriving Tuesday.