Owners of the Trump International Hotel in Panama are working to strip the US president’s name from the building and fire the hotel management. The decision follows a steady rejection of the Trump brand from properties around the world.
The 70-story building, located on Panama City’s waterfront, once paid at least $32 million to associate with Donald Trump. The 369-room condominium-hotel has been struggling with poor occupancy, however.
The move to erase the president’s name and fire the hotel management followed the news that Trump was being paid to end a similar management contract for the Trump Soho hotel in New York.
“I bought there because I thought Trump’s name made it a safe investment,” Al Monstavicius, a retired Nevada doctor who owns a penthouse hotel unit in the Panama project told AP. “But Latinos are a real problem for him in Panama.”
The Trump Organization acknowledged to AP the effort to strip away the Panama property’s management and brand. It said it believed the move was a contract violation.
Owners of apartments and hotel units at the Panama property have previously complained about problems with Trump’s management. In October 2015, AP reported owners of apartments in the building had revolted over alleged mismanagement, firing Trump’s manager from the building’s overall board of directors. Trump threatened to sue but the claim was settled and Trump remained manager of the hotel component of the tower.
“Not only do we have a valid, binding and enforceable long-term management agreement, but any suggestion that the hotel is not performing up to expectations is belied by the actual facts,” the Trump Organization said in a statement.
The Panama move follows similar efforts at other buildings. Earlier this month, an apartment complex on Manhattan’s West Side stripped Trump’s name from its three buildings after complaints from residents. Close to 600 residents in the Trump Place apartment complex signed a “Dump the Trump name” petition, according to Bloomberg News. The building will use its street address instead.
“We’re very pleased, people felt really good that they could do something,” Linda Gottlieb, one of the petition’s authors, told Bloomberg. “It was an empowering way to protest. It wasn’t a random protest, it was a very specific protest.”
The name change was mutually agreed upon and “simply the enforcement of a pre-existing agreement which has been in place for years,” Amanda Miller, a Trump Organization vice president, told the news outlet in an email.
Even before Trump was elected, a Dubai real estate firm building a $6 billion golf complex removed his name and image following a backlash over the presidential candidate’s proposal to “ban all Muslims” from entering the United States.