Eric Trump Fumes at Investigation into Financing of Family's Golf Courses

Eric Trump has lambasted the politician who called for a debate on the financing of the former president's golf courses in Scotland as a "national embarrassment," accusing members of the Scottish parliament of being more focused on "advancing their personal agendas" than on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Patrick Harvie, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens Party, has previously urged Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to seek an unexplained wealth order (UWO) to probe the financing of Trump's two golf courses in Scotland—Trump International in Aberdeenshire and Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire.

On Wednesday, Scottish MPs will vote on the motion calling to investigate Trump's business interest during a debate led by the Scottish Greens.

Should the UWO be granted via the courts, the Trump Organization would have to detail the source of the financing behind both golf resorts, which are part of Trump Golf's 19-course portfolio.

The Scottish government has hitherto maintained that only the Lord Advocate—the chief legal officer of the Scottish Government for both civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament—can make such a decision.

On the eve of the debate, Eric Trump, the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, dismissed Harvie's calls to investigate his father's finances and warned a probe could have repercussions on Scottish businesses.

"Patrick Harvie is nothing more than a national embarrassment with his pathetic antics that only serve himself and his political agenda," he said.

"If Harvie and the rest of the Scottish government continue to treat overseas investors like this, it will deter future investors from conducting business in Scotland, ultimately crushing their economy, tourism and hospitality industries."

Donald Trump and Eric Trump
Donald Trump and son Eric Trump play golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort during the former President's first official visit to the United Kingdom on July 14, 2018 in Turnberry, Scotland. Leon Neal/Getty

Speaking to The Scotsman, Harvie cited "serious concerns" over how Trump financed the cash purchases of both his golf courses in Scotland.

"The Scottish government has tried to avoid the question of investigating Donald Trump's wealth for far too long," he said.

"There are serious concerns about how he financed the cash purchases of his Scottish golf courses, but no investigation has ever taken place."

Trump Jr., however, castigated Harvie and his fellow members of parliament for seeking to advance their "personal agendas" and defended the Trump Organization's record in Scotland.

"At a critical time when politicians should be focused on saving lives and reopening businesses in Scotland, they are focused on advancing their personal agendas," he said.

"As a company, The Trump Organization has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the Scottish economy, rescued Turnberry, a Scottish national treasure on the brink of collapse and rebuilt it into one of the finest resorts anywhere in the world.

"In both Aberdeen and Turnberry, the Trump Organization has created thousands of jobs and has made an overwhelming contribution to the leisure and tourism industry."

Trump's family has invested heavily at Turnberry, delivering an upgrade on course and facilities worth north of $150 million since purchasing the course in 2014 for $60 million.

According to the most recent annual report available, however, the course plunged further into the red in 2019.

The annual accounts of Golf Recreation Scotland, Trump Turnberry's parent company, the resort lost $3.1 million, even though turnover rose 6.4 percent year-on-year to $26.9 million.

Meanwhile, Trump's course in Aberdeenshire lost $1.5 million in 2019 and required $1.6 million worth of loans from Trump's family trust.

In July, The New York Times reported Trump had asked Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson, the then-U.S. ambassador to Britain, to find out whether the British government would be open to help steer The Open Championship—also known as the British Open—to his Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland.

Last month, however, The R&A—which runs The Open—ruled out Turnberry as potential future host venue, joining the ever-growing list of organizations, companies and even Republican politicians cutting ties with Trump for his role in the riots that saw thousands of his supporters storm the U.S. Capitol.

The course has staged golf's oldest major four times prior to being purchased by Trump and was on a rota of 14 U.K. courses that can be selected to host the event in the future.

"We had no plans to stage any of our championships at Turnberry and will not do so in the foreseeable future," The R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said in a statement.

"We will not return until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself and we do not believe that is achievable in the current circumstances."

The R&A's decision came a day after the PGA of America announced it would strip Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey, of the 2022 PGA Championship.

Earlier this week, commenting on the motion put forward by the Scottish Greens, a spokesperson for the Scottish government said: "Any decision on whether to apply to the Court of Session for an unexplained wealth order is made on behalf of Scottish ministers by the Civil Recovery Unit (CRU) which reports to the Lord Advocate.

"This decision-making process is an operational matter for the CRU.

"It would not be appropriate for the Scottish Government to comment on this."