Trump hosts golf bank with help from Saudi Arabia – Top Stories (Trending Perfect)


Amateur golfers will line up Thursday at Trump National Doral near Miami, after agreeing to pay more than $9,000 each to play a friendly round alongside some of the world's best professionals.

Rooms at the resort hotel will be packed with fans as a professional tournament featuring some of the biggest names in the sport gets underway on Friday. The resort's restaurants and bars will attract more business, and Trump's name will be broadcast around the world on television and the Internet.

Behind the boom in business at one of former President Donald J. Trump's properties lies his deal to host the LIV Golf Championships, the junior league sponsored by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund.

Leff's eagerness to pay for Mr. Trump to host tournaments at his resorts is just another example of the ties between the Saudis and the Trump family even as he seeks the presidency again, an arrangement that continues to generate conflicts of a unique kind and scale. To Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump recently spoke with the Saudi leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, two people familiar with the discussion said. The Biden administration is working with Saudi Arabia on a Middle East peace plan. It is not clear what Mr. Trump and the Saudi leader discussed. Officials representing Mr. Trump did not respond to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, the investment firm set up by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, with $2 billion in funding from the same Saudi sovereign wealth fund that financed the LIV golf league, has been accelerating its dealmaking in 2018 in recent months in the United States and abroad.

The Trump family's ties to the Saudi government have raised questions not only because of Mr. Trump's push to return to the White House but also because of their intersection with the evolving nature of Mr. Trump's business, which was once closely tied to downtown. Hotels but are now increasingly focusing on golf.

As of the end of last year, the Trump Organization had sold or lost brand deals with six hotels around the world, most recently the Trump Waikiki Hotel in Hawaii and the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Other hotels that dropped the Trump name were in Vancouver, Toronto, Panama and New York City's SoHo neighborhood, totaling 1,893 rooms.

This leaves the Trump family with only three downtown hotels, in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas.

The rest of its hospitality properties worldwide, including the Doral Hotel in Florida, are built almost entirely around golf courses. In the past three years, they have seen their profile enhanced internationally as a result of the LIV Golf Championships, which have been generously funded by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund to attract top stars such as Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka.

In an interview, Eric Trump, one of the former president's sons, said the shift in the company's holdings in the hospitality industry reflects Rapid growth of the golf industry Since the pandemic, it's a trend that 11 local golf clubs and four abroad are benefiting from.

“The leisure market is the hottest market in the hotel world,” he said, referring in particular to golf resorts. “The golf clubs are full.”

But the downturn in the downtown hotel industry was clearly not something the Trump family planned for. A decade ago, the family started A National marketing campaign To push what it was then calling the Trump Hotel Collection, a growing chain of boutique hotels in cities across North America and other parts of the world. She even started her own frequent visitor program called the Trump Card.

“Our lifestyle is a lifestyle where you can do more, experience more and live life without boundaries, boundaries or compromise.” The company bragged In its marketing campaign Listing many hotel properties Which has now been stripped of Trump's name.

The Trump family, at the time, hired a well-known hotel industry executive, Eric Danziger, to help plan a major expansion of the brand, anticipating that it would eventually include dozens of hotels in locations around the world. But Mr. Danziger has since left the company, having effectively abandoned plans to expand into major hotels.

Documents prepared for the Trump family and its lenders offer their own explanation for the decline of the downtown hotel brand — pointing to Mr. Trump himself.

“According to management, the Trump brand negatively impacted the subject’s performance,” said A Doral Hotel Review 2021 It was prepared for Deutsche Bank, one of Mr. Trump's lenders.

“Mr. Trump is a polarizing figure who evokes strong emotions in supporters and supporters of his political opponents,” the assessment added. “This led to many groups canceling events at the hotel.”

The appraisal, marked “Top Secret,” was made public late last year as part of court proceedings in New York in which the state attorney general accused Mr. Trump in a civil case of inflating the value of some of his properties.

a The second evaluation is set for 2022 About the Doral Hotel — recently made public by a lawsuit in New York — concluded that if the Trump family sells the hotel, the new operator can expect to see occupancy and average daily room rates jump almost immediately.

The problems extend to Trump hotels in other locations.

The average occupancy at the Trump International Hotel and Chicago Tower for one year through September 2023 was just 49 percent, according to a recent report. Market study prepared for the Trump Organization15 percentage points less than that Competitors in Chicago.

Chicago hotel datareleased to the New York Times in response to an open records request by a local tax assessor, showed that the Trump hotel's biggest weakness compared to its rivals was Large group salesIt's another sign that businesses and other organizations are avoiding the Trump family hotel.

Further complicating Trump's hotel business plans is the long list of projects that have been canceled or delayed, including Trump-branded hotels in… Dubai, New Orleans And the dominican republicAnd two in Indonesia. Plans for two new hotel chains in the US – to be called Scion and American Idea – were abandoned while Trump was in the White House.

One of the few new ones International resort projects What is progressing rapidly now is in Oman, which is supported by a real estate company based in Saudi Arabia.

the The 14-year-old Trump Hotel has 462 rooms In Hawaii He left the Trump brand In November. Donald Trump Jr. was asked about the decision in the New York trial, where a state attorney asked him if “this was a reflection of the hotel abandoning the Trump brand to join Hilton.” Mr. Trump responded“That's what they do, I guess.”

By contrast, Trump's golf courses are in locations including Jupiter, Florida., Northern Virginia, West Palm Beach, FloridaAnd Charlotte, Nickamong other sites, It saw big jumps in net profits In the last years, Court records Displays. Revenue from golf as well as food and beverage sales at Doral in Miami It also rose.

Eric Trump said initiation fees to join two of Trump's golf clubs in Florida have jumped to as much as $400,000, and annual fees are now higher as well.

This jump in golf revenue at Bedminster and Doral coincides with the decision made by LIV Golf, three years ago, to begin holding tournaments at the Trump family courses. Attracting professional golf has long been a goal of the former president, who has been largely ignored by major professional golf organizations such as the PGA of America, which canceled a planned tournament in Bedminster after the 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Mr. Trump announced this year's Doral event himself, Writing in the December post Truth Social reports that “TRUMP NATIONAL DORAL, in Miami, just signed with LIV GOLF to host the Championship Tournament in April 2024.” The league played three tournaments at Trump courses last year, in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia, more than any other golf course brand worldwide.

Trump Organization executives said the direct payments from LIV Golf were relatively small, going beyond covering the costs of hosting tournaments and any related renovations to golf courses and facilities. LIV Golf itself will be distributed Prizes worth $25 million To 54 professional players.

“They want to use my real estate because it’s the best real estate,” Mr. Trump said at the LIV Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Washington last May, describing payments from LIV as “peanuts to me.”

But the Trump family's indirect revenues could be significant. That's on display this week in Doral, where hotel occupancy has skyrocketed. Just a week ago, during a reporter's visit to the Doral, the 643-room hotel, its conference rooms and its restaurants were relatively quiet, even during Florida's busy spring break period. Eric Trump said he expects tens of thousands of golf fans to attend the Doral resort over the weekend.

The asking price for hotel rooms at the Doral doubled as the tournament approached, reaching nearly $1,000 per night for a basic room.

Private chalets to watch the tournament are rented for up to $89,000 for three days event, while a spot at the so-called Birdie Shack on the 16th green can be secured for $249, including three drinks and a DJ playing music.

It will also be by Senegalese-American singer Akon Concert sponsored by LIV at the golf resort on Saturday, drawing more crowds and spending to the resort. It will be a tournament Broadcast on The CW Networkwhich brought at least some additional attention to the club's brand.

Both the Trump Organization and LIV Golf declined to specify what share of these revenues the Trump family receives or what other payments they receive. A LIV spokesperson said only that the arrangement with the Trump family was “on terms comparable to anywhere else in the United States.”

Doug Mayer, a spokesman for the company, also rejected any suggestion that LIV had selected the Trump family's residences as a form of political favor by the Saudi government. He instead pointed to resistance elsewhere in the United States by professional golf to the league as one of the reasons it turned to the Trumps.

“LIV Golf is an independent corporate and commercial entity focused solely on the game of golf, the business of golf, and increasing competition in the global marketplace,” he said in a statement. “The league’s mission has always been very clear – suggestions to the contrary are not new and have been proven time and time again to be unfounded.”

Trump family Recently secured The right of local city officials to build up to five high increase Buildings with A total of 1,410 apartments and villas At Trump Doral Resort. The approval has already increased the resale value of the Trump family's Doral properties, even if the hotel itself has relatively low occupancy. But there is no start date yet.

Eric Trump denied any suggestion that the Trump family, in light of the various legal challenges, might have difficulty obtaining a bank loan to build the project.

“When the market is good and we are in a good mood, we will move forward,” he said.

Maggie Haberman Contributed reporting from New York, Jonathan Swan From Washington and Alan Blinder From Atlanta.



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