EDINBURGH, Scotland — Protesters opposed to Donald Trump's planned $1.5 billion Scottish golf resort say they've pulled a trick shot out of their bag.
At the center of the plan is local fisherman Michael Forbes, who has long been an irritant to Trump. Forbes has refused the American tycoon's offer of nearly $700,000 (488,000 pounds) to buy his family's 23-acre run-down farm, which sits at the center of the planned resort.
But Forbes has sold an acre of his land near Aberdeen to protesters who also disagree with Trump's plans – a sale which will force the property tycoon to face down more than 60 people.
The group, Tripping Up Trump, says it purchased the land and named it "The Bunker," after the sand trap that many golfers end up in.
"We've called this piece of the land the bunker because he will now find it impossible to force a sale as there will be so many names on it," group spokesman Martin Glegg said Wednesday. "This is the prime slot that Trump wants and there is no way he can get it now."
Glegg said he hoped eventually to have hundreds of names on the deeds.
Trump, who flew to Scotland on Wednesday, said: "Forbes is someone who I would love to see clean up his property. It is a slum and a pigsty. His barn is rusty, rotten and falling down."
The announcement of the acre sale came as Trump is putting the finishing touches to his plan for what he calls the "world's greatest golf course."
He was given permission in 2008 to build the resort, which is to feature a five-star hotel, 1,200 homes and two international-standard golf courses.
In October, workers began clearing rocks and other debris from the site after planners at the Aberdeenshire Council granted permission. Grass was planted on an environmentally sensitive stretch of sand dunes to stabilize the beach for development into a championship golf course.
Trump said Wednesday he anticipates one of the courses will be ready for play in 18 months.
Trump and Forbes have a history of bad blood. Trump has called Forbes "the village idiot" for refusing to sell, and Forbes retaliated by calling Trump "a New York clown."
"Tripping Up Trump now own a piece of my land in an effort to help protect my family and the other families worried by the threat of compulsory purchase," Forbes said in a statement. "Trump lost the battle for public opinion long ago, and he's now lost any chance of bulldozing our homes."
Trump said the disputed land only affects the last phase of the resort. The owners of three of the five plots Trump needs are willing to part with their land, but Forbes, the owners of the acre on his property and another landowner don't want to sell.
A small band of demonstrators protested outside Aberdeen Airport as Trump and his son, Donald Jr., told reporters the beach on the course would be called The Great Dunes of Scotland as a tribute to his mother Mary Macleod, who came from the Isle of Lewis.
Environmentalists have objected to the resort because plans to stabilize the dunes would impact on local wildlife.