Trump's Name Should Be Stripped From Panama Hotel, Its Owners Say

Trump International Hotel owners in Panama want to rid the 70-story waterfront building of President Donald Trump's name as well as his family's hotel management company, which operates it.

“They were given 30 days to cure,” Jeffrey Rabiea, a New York businessman who owns three units in the luxurious sailboat-shaped hotel, told the Associated Press in a report Monday.

But the Trump Organization believes the property owners—who previously paid at least $32 million to be associated with Trump's brand—are acting in violation of their contract.

“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 told the Associated Press in a statement.

Owners of the 369-unit condominium hotel did not have enough votes to control management aspects until Ithaca Capital Partners, an investment firm in Miami, in August paid the developer for 202 condos, a conference center and restaurants on-site and gained a voting majority.

Ithaca's managing director at the time said the firm wanted to work with Trump's management group as well as the owners of other units, but Ithaca representatives in October presented a plan to nix the Trump Organization's directors from the hotel board and end Trump's overall presence at the building.

Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., remain popular, but at other properties like the Panama hotel, his name has had a damaging effect on business.

Panama hotel owners said that occupancy at their units was so low they could not cover maintenance costs. Ithaca is already looking for a new hotel operator to manage the property with a different name and brand, according to Rabiea.

Discontent among owners dates back to Trump's days as a presidential candidate. In October 2015, apartment owners fired Trump's manager over alleged mismanagement of the building.

The bad news for the Trump Organization comes days after Trump SoHo hotel in New York paid out Trump to drop his name from the property.

Despite problems with the Panama and SoHo hotels, Trump's sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, left in charge of the Trump Organization, are pursuing two new high-end hotels in the Mississippi Delta. Though it is one of the poorest areas in the U.S., it is at the heart of the president's base of support.

Both new hotels will likely be outside the price range affordable for its nearest residents.

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