Sneed’s exclusive tip Tuesday that President Barack Obama and his pals are heading to the posh, private enclave of Florida’s exclusive Ocean Reef Club for golf this weekend may still be hush-hush, but a major kerfuffle by old-line club members is in full swing.
Described in a Miami Herald blog as “about as far away from middle class as you can get in Key Largo,” the Ocean Reef Club is home to some of the nation’s wealthiest families.
“Many of the club members don’t want their peaceful enclave to be disturbed by a man who will bring a flood of publicity, Secret Service and unwelcome visitors,” said a Sneed source. “And they have been very vocal about expressing their feelings to the Ocean Reef board.”
Added another Sneed source: “They don’t feel welcoming to someone who they feel disdains their largess and lifestyle.”
On Tuesday, Sneed tipped that a brace of helicopters would transport the president and his entourage to the wealthy gated community. Although the White House would not comment, an Ocean Reef board spokesman verified by phone that the president was coming.
On Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration issued temporary flight restrictions over Key Largo from Friday through Sunday so pilots will avoid the area, according to their website.
Veep Joe Biden stayed at Ocean Reef in 2011 and loved it, but the club’s old-line guard have got their shorts in such a bunch, it’s headed toward conniption.
It’s a direct contrast to the residents of Martha’s Vineyard, who have welcomed the Obamas and their Secret Service retinue. Snipped a Sneed source: “They are not as rich as the members at Ocean Reef.”
First lady Michelle Obama, who was already in Florida this week trying to boost enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, also is expected to join hubby and friends at the private club, where Sneed is told five homes have been rented for the visit.
An Ocean Reef Club member is required to sponsor a guest playing golf. You do the math for the aftermath.
READ MICHAEL SNEED’S FULL COLUMN AT SUNTIMES.COM