Image: Gadhafi's tent in New York
Craig Ruttle  /  AP
People gather around a tent on Wednesday on a property known as Seven Springs estate owned by real estate magnate Donald Trump in Bedford, N.Y. The Libyan government pitched a tent and then took it down on the property that leader Moammar Gadhafi wanted to use for entertaining, according to a State Department official.
updated 9/24/2009 9:28:01 PM ET 2009-09-25T01:28:01

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 Gadhafi, 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.

A spokeswoman for Donald Trump told NBC News that the tent was taken down again. "It was taken down very quickly. Mr. Gadhafi has never been to the property," she said.

The white-topped tent — lined with a tapestry of camels and palm trees and outfitted with leather couches and coffee tables — had been dismantled Wednesday after town officials said it was erected without permits and Trump said he requested it be removed.

It then was erected again on Thursday.

Bedford officials arrived at the home early Thursday evening with a stop-work order and a criminal summons.

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 again.

Trump said earlier Thursday that he had "no idea" that Gadhafi 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 Gadhafi connection.

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 Gadhafi 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."

Gadhafi 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.

Gadhafi 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. Gadhafi stayed at the city's Libyan Mission after arriving Tuesday.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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