Miami Grand Prix shuts down effort to hold Trump fundraiser at F1 race


The Miami Grand Prix sent a cease and desist letter Friday night to a prominent Trump fundraiser, informing him that he cannot use a suite at an upcoming Formula One race as a high-dollar fundraiser for the Trump campaign. Trump, according to multiple people familiar with the event, has been planning to attend the race.

The letter was sent to Steven Witkoff, a longtime Trump friend who recently testified on behalf of Trump in a suit in New York that resulted in a New York judge handing down a $350 million civil fraud judgment against the former president for financial misdeeds.

“It has come to our attention that you may be using your Paddock Club Rooftop Suite for a political purpose, namely raising money for a federal election at $250,000 per ticket, which clearly violates the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix suite license agreement,” read the letter, which was obtained by The Washington Post. “If this is true, we regret to inform you that your suite license will be revoked, you will not be allowed to attend the race at any time, and we will refund you in full.”

The Miami Grand Prix is scheduled for May 5 at the Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens. A spokesman for the race declined to comment.

According to two people familiar with the details of the fundraiser, it was set up through the recently opened Shell Bay Club, located near Hollywood, Fla. The golf club, which Witkoff’s real estate company developed, has a reported $1 million entrance fee.

In a recent club newsletter, members of the club received an invitation to the Miami Grand Prix that advertised a helicopter trip and other perks. It did not mention Trump, but according to two people who called the club about the event, they were told the event was for Trump and would cost $250,000. The suite was purchased in Witkoff’s name.

The secret service has reached out to race officials to coordinate Trump’s attendance at the race, according to two people familiar with planning the event.

The terms of the suite state it cannot be used for “advertising, promotional or commercial purposes (including without limitation, prizes, competitions, contests, or sweepstakes) without the prior written consent of Promoter and the F1 entities …”

Reached Friday by phone, Witkoff said, “This is something fake, for sure,” but declined to comment further.

Witkoff donated more than $2 million to Trump’s political action committees, according to a 2021 Pro Publica story.

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