The Panama City Trumps

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Huang reflects on a mission barely accomplished. (Darker Than Black, ep. 14)

This is a lede from Associated Press:

One of President Donald Trump’s family businesses is battling an effort to physically evict its team of executives from a luxury hotel in Panama where they manage operations, and police have been called to keep the peace, The Associated Press has learned. Witnesses told the AP they saw Trump’s executives carrying files to a room for shredding.

And then there is the detail:

Representatives of the hotel owners’ association formally sought to fire Trump’s management team Thursday by hand-delivering termination notices to them at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, according to a Panamanian legal complaint filed by Orestes Fintiklis, who controls 202 of the property’s 369 hotel units. Trump’s managers retreated behind the glass walls of an office where they were seen carrying files to an area where the sounds of a shredding machine could be heard, according to two witnesses aligned with the owners. The legal complaint also accused Trump’s team of improperly destroying documents.

Oh, wait, there is more:

Elsewhere in the building, the hotel owners’ team and its allies were barred by Trump Hotel staff from entering the room containing the building’s closed-circuit TV system as well as key computer servers for the hotel and apartments that share the property. In response, they shut off power to the room — temporarily bringing down phone lines and internet connections within the building.

According to the legal complaint, Trump’s chief of security and six security guards “pushed and shouted at” Fintiklis when he came to deliver the termination notices. The complaint said the hotel employees then called the police.

A new confrontation appeared likely to arise during the weekend, as Trump’s security staff set up early Saturday in the hotel lobby, witnesses said. But by Saturday afternoon the lobby was again quiet.

It really is hard to figure where to begin. Jeff Horwitz and Juan Zamorano recall the Trump Organization’s prior remarks on the subject, but as “lawyers, notaries and rival security personnel gathered at the hotel in Panama City”, the AP reporters tell a tale akin to some manner of mobster farce: In August, Ithaca Capital Partners bought up over two hundred units “in a fire sale from the property’s struggling developer”, and whatever else we might think of using that term to describe a real estate transaction, the story quickly turns for the worse because, after all, this is the Trump Organization they are dealing with.

That the Trump Organization wanted assurances they would keep their position as hotel manager is unsurprising; that they claim the vote to terminate their management, and, apparently, seek damages, was invalid seems expected. That “the Trump management team ran off a group of Marriott executives who had been invited to tour the property amid a search for a replacement hotel operator” sounds approximately unreal, except this is the Trump Organization we are dealing with. Apparently Friday’s tensions sparked when Trump Hotels “again refused to yield control of the property” to, and, furthermore, refused Ithaca’s managing partner, Orestes Fintiklis, access to any of his company’s rooms.

All said, the notorious Trump property would probably benefit from not looking like a shelved mobster farce.


Image note: Detail of frame from Darker Than Black.

Horwitz, Jeff and Juan Zamorano. “Trump officials fight eviction from Panama hotel they manage”. Associated Press. 24 February 2018.

Petropoulos, Aggelos and Richard Engel. “A Panama tower carries Trump’s name and ties to organized crime”. NBC News. 17 November 2017.

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