The ownership board of President Donald Trump’s signature New York hotel reportedly toyed with the idea of removing Trump’s name from the property as it dealt with a decline in revenues linked by investors to the president’s political ascendancy.
The board for Trump International Hotel & Tower New York met in January to discuss possibly taking Trump’s name off the upscale hotel with six members of the board voting to at least look into the matter. Fellow board members Donald Trump Jr., doctor Stephen Soloway and a third member tried to knock down the proposal, according to The Washington Post on Thursday citing minutes from the meeting and other documents from investors angered by losing revenue over the last two years.
Soloway was nominated to serve on the president’s fitness council in May but withdrew from consideration in June.
According to the report, Trump’s top New York hotel lost $3.5 million in revenue between 2015 and 2017 while the average room rate dipped to $710 from $767. The president’s signature Chicago hotel also reportedly lost money.
The Trump Organization reportedly told investors that some of that lost revenue at the New York and Chicago properties was made up thanks to patrons hailing from Saudi Arabia. The president had received criticism for his Washington D.C. hotel hosting visitors from Saudi Arabia and other countries looking to curry favor with Trump, which some have alleged could be a violation of the Emoluments Clause that denies the president from receiving gifts from foreign governments.
The investors in the Trump New York hotel had agreed to purchase rooms and then rent them out with the president’s organization retaining the right to manage the property, The Post reported. In turn, the president was able to receive cash up front and more money over time.
Spectators in front of Trump International Hotel and Tower watch the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 23, 2017 in New York City. Getty Images/Dia Dipasupil
But owners of the rooms, including Howard Finkelstein, said that the lost revenue was an example of Trump’s investors “paying the price for his ridiculous ego.”
“There’s a lot of people who have nothing to do with him, that are being injured,” Finkelstein told The Post. “We’re the ones that are paying the price for his ridiculous ego. There’s no reason to have that name on there.”
The New York property did not wind up taking Trump’s name off the building but others have shed the Trump branding since the president’s successful campaign and stay in Washington.
Hotels in Panama, Toronto and New York’s SoHo each took Trump’s name down, leaving the president with 11 properties around the world bearing his name.
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