The board of owners of a Panama hotel run by the Trump Organization is accusing the company of “gross mismanagement” as it looks for another company to replace the organization, but President Donald Trump’s company is not letting this go without a fight.
After the luxury hotel in Panama fired the president’s company and filed a $15 million arbitration claim filled with accusations that Trump Hotels had mismanaged the property and been guilty of financial improprieties, the president’s company fired back with a $200 million counterclaim.
The bitter fight turned out even uglier when Trump Hotels refused to turn the property’s financial records over to the owner’s association.
The worst aspect of this fight is, perhaps, the fact that when Marriott International Inc. was asked to come to the property to discuss a possible deal, Trump Hotels asked them to leave.
Considering that Marriott has many business and public policy interests before the Trump administration, the fact that it has found itself in the midst of a legal fight between the Panama hotel and the president’s company is reason for concern. After all, Marriott could decide to back away from this particular location because taking over for Trump Hotels would enrage the president.
Ever since Trump took office, Marriott has been lobbying the administration as well as Congress over tourism rules involving Cuba and other issues regarding resort fees.
A potential misunderstanding between the company and Trump’s organization could spell trouble to the international hotel firm. And according to Business Insider, what happened after Marriott’s attempted visit may seem a lot like an attempt at pressuring the company to back off.
After Marriott representatives were asked to leave the Panama hotel, the head of Trump Hotels, Eric Danziger, called Marriott chief executive Arne Sorenson to allegedly complain about the visit. But, while the Trump Organization’s general counsel, Alan Garten, told reporters that the call was not meant as a way of intimidating Marriott, the head of the Campaign Legal Center, Larry Noble, said that this incident highlights potential ethics concerns.
According to Noble and the staff at the Washington-based public interest group, the fact that Trump failed to divest himself from his businesses could spell trouble for the president.
"I don't know if they've got a valid contract or not," Noble said. "But if you're a big company, you'd really have to think twice before getting into a fight with one of the president's companies."
While this isn’t the first building to have separated itself from the Trump brand ever since Trump took office, this particular situation in Panama may turn into a scandal of gigantic proportions. All because it involves a company whose interests may be undermined if it upsets the president.