It is unclear whether Guo is in any way involved in the counterintelligence investigation.

Top Senate Democrats are renewing calls for federal authorities to assess potential security risksposed by Mar-a-Lago’s status as a club where $200,000 buys a membership with nearly unlimited access to the president’s South Florida home.

“I do not know the guy at all,” longtime Mar-a-Lago member George Lombardi told the Miami Herald. “But I can say that the events that took place in Mar-a-Lago months ago reflect the fact that there are a few individuals that may live in the USA but they have pledged their alliance to other countries.” Still, Lombardi said he was not worried by the news.

The Trump Organization, which runs Mar-a-Lago, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Guo was photographed at Mar-a-Lago in December 2018, walking his beloved tiny white dog around the grounds. At the time, the president’s wife, Melania, and other members of the family were popping in and out of the club to attend various holiday events. President Trump was in Washington at the time due to the government shutdown.

The picture of Guo, his dog, and an unidentified female companion was snapped by Claude Taylor, an anti-Trump activist, who was driving a boat up the Intracoastal Waterway. On board Taylor’s boat was a large inflatable rat, with hair and suit that made it look like Donald Trump.

“We were just having fun, creating mischief,” Taylor told the Herald.

As he blasted a classic rock song — “I Fought the Law” by the Clash — Taylor saw Guo and the female companion walking the dog near the club’s seawall. While Taylor snapped photos of Guo, the billionaire started taking pictures of the boat. Taylor logged onto Mar-a-Lago’s unsecured guest wifi, and a while later received a contact from inside the club. The contact included one photo of Guo inside Mar-a-Lago reading a newspaper, and another with Taylor’s rat boat behind him, which Taylor assumed was taken by Guo’s female companion.

“He wants as many people as possible to know he is a member in good standing,” Taylor remembers thinking at the time. “He’s a fugitive from justice who has asylum claims and he’s using as leverage his association with Mar-a-Lago to bolster his asylum claim.”


Chinese fugitive billionaire Wengui Guo was photographed by activist Claude Taylor as Guo walked his dog outside Mar-a-Lago in late December 2018. CLAUDE TAYLOR


“Mr. Guo is the most wanted dissident worldwide by the Chinese Communist Party and has been their most outspoken and vitriolic critic since his arrival in the United States,” according to Guo’s attorney, Podhaskie.

The Chinese government has apparently gone to considerable lengths to try to bring Guo back to mainland China.

On May 24, 2017, several Chinese officials went to Guo’s home—a $67 million Manhattan penthouse — in an effort to persuade him to drop his activism and return to China, according to an audio recording of the meeting reported by the Wall Street Journal. The officials were traveling in the United States on visas that did not permit official business, prompting a behind-the-scenes skirmish between the FBI and State Department on whether to arrest them as they left the country, according to the Journal. In the end, the State Department’s fears of sparking an international incident won out, and the Chinese officials left the country without incident.

Around the same time, Republican National Committee Finance Chairman Steve Wynn, a casino magnate and longtime associate of Trump’s with business interests in Macau, a special administrative region of China, reportedly hand-delivered a letter to the president on behalf of the Chinese government. It requested that the United States deport Guo back to China. (Wynn denied the story through his lawyer, when asked for comment by the Journal). Trump appeared ready to grant China’s request until his aides dissuaded him by telling him that Guo was a member of Mar-a-Lago, according to the Journal.

Guo is known to be one of China’s most eccentric billionaires and has spent his life mired in controversy. Guo’s official Facebook page is filled with videos of himself demonstrating his various workout routines and anti-Chinese Communist Party content— like one recent video in which he interviews former senior Trump advisor Steve Bannon on U.S.-Chinese relations over dinner.

The unlikely duo met while Bannon worked in the White House as Trump’s chief strategist, according to Bannon, who spoke at a news conference last year where he announced he was joining Guo’s effort to expose Chinese corruption around the globe.

During the news conference, Guo and Bannon alleged that the Chinese government was involved in the death of another Chinese billionaire, Wang Jian, former chairman of the HNA Group, who fell to his death on July 4, 2018 while vacationing in the south of France. French officials ruled the death an accident and claimed there was no evidence pointing to suicide.

However, Guo said at the news conference that he had commissioned a private investigation into Wang’s fall that turned up several anomalies, including how his bodyguards reacted by giving the dying man facial acupuncture.

Together, Guo and Bannon launched the Rule of Law Foundation, which they said would collect evidence in cases of deaths like Wang’s, according to the South China Morning Post.

“Mr. Guo has consistently emphasized his one goal: to take down the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]. As such, he has put all of his available resources to that end — to take down this murderous dictatorship and free his fellow countrymen in China,” Guo’s lawyer told the Herald.