If you were asked to come up with a list of things President Donald Trump couldn’t possibly ruin, “Florida” would be one of the only feasible answers, as it’s hard to ruin something that already sucks. Nonetheless, there is a mystery brewing in the verdant and overgrown woodlands of central Florida, and it involves America’s two most ridiculous characters: The commander-in-chief, and the state which has somehow avoided getting officially labeled “the bath salts state.” In a story that features an ideal marriage of shady business deals and stranger-than-fiction characters—certainly the only time the words “Donald Trump” and “ideal marriage” have or ever will be uttered in the same sentence—there’s a piece of Floridian real estate the United States president is holding on to, and no one knows why.
In a new exposé by The Guardian, it’s been revealed that Trump owns a small quarter-acre lot in Sebring, Florida, in an area with no roads, no natural resources, and no real prospects for development. It’s just one of hundreds of such lots in the area, the result of a failed real estate development plan in the late ‘60s. It’s one of the poorest regions in the state, and environmental restrictions (it’s home to a protected type of Florida grass) make any profitable developments unlikely. So why does Trump own a parcel of largely worthless property, paying yearly taxes to maintain possession of this strange and mostly inaccessible slice of southern backwoods land? Let’s come back to that question, because much like his successful electoral campaign, the story of how he acquired this plot is even more inexplicable.
Donald Trump “purchased” the land in July 2005 for one dollar. It was sold to him by a woman named Nazeema Carrico, who is “listed in Palm Beach County records as the owner of a photographic studio specializing in adult lingerie shoots.” She had purchased it only a few weeks earlier for $3,300, and while family members of hers own hundreds of similar plots in Highlands County, Carrico—who goes by Nazeema Moonab since her divorce—surrendered her own stake in 50-plus plots of land in the settlement with her now ex-husband. When contacted by The Guardian, Moonab not only failed to return the paper’s messages, she removed her Facebook and Instagram profiles the day the request was made, just like any normal person who definitely doesn’t have anything to hide would do.
Needless to say, The Trump Organization, which manages the president’s portfolio of real estate holdings of which he has somehow failed to divest himself—almost like this whole “highest office in the land” gambit is some nakedly shameless cash grab—failed to comment on the odd little quarter-acre plot. Trump paid $69.87 in property taxes on the land for 2016, and it is currently valued at $4,280 according to the county roll. Now, before we jump to the obvious Occam’s razor assumption of “that’s where the bodies are buried,” let’s review the facts: A woman who ran an adult lingerie photo studio gave Donald Trump a near-worthless plot of land for a dollar more than a decade ago, no one knows why, and when she was asked to comment, she deleted her social media profiles and went into radio silence.
There’s every chance of a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this, and just as soon as the sun starts revolving around the earth it will presumably be forthcoming. In the meantime, however, you are free to speculate about what President Trump is doing with his little slice of Florida, located roughly 120 miles from Mar-A-Lago. Be warned, however, that any answer which does not include “he needs a space to pen in the howling banshees of the souls of former contractors he financially ruined by never paying them, lest they continue to torment him day and night with their cries for even a modicum of justice” will be sorely lacking. And yeah, probably some bodies, too.