President Trump’s first hotel-condominium project outside of the U.S. is trying to distance itself from him.
For the third time this year, the Trump International Hotel in Panama City is trying to remove the Trump brand from the hotel. The Trump Organization claims that a binding management agreement prevents the hotel in Panama from removing the Trump name.
The renewed efforts came after it was announced last week that Trump was “effectively being paid” to walk away from its embattled signature property in New York’s SoHo. Condo units in the building have been slow to sell since they came on the market, and last December basketball player LeBron James refused to stay in the hotel as a protest against Trump’s election.
Owners of the building’s condo and hotel units have previously complained of mismanagement by the Trump Organization, which led to the 2015 removal of Trump’s management team from some of the building’s administrative posts. Moreover, the hotel has struggled since Trump assumed the Presidency. Third-party researchers say hotel-room prices at the property have fallen 32% since January, though the Trump Organization claims it continues to outperform its competitors.
Earlier this month, a Reuters/NBC investigation found that alleged fraudster Alexandre Ventura Nogueira sold between one-third and half of the units in the building, and that he was in business with Russian criminals at the time.