2019-05-16 13:22:151 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
The high-rise walls seem to be closing in on Donald Trump. The real estate magnate-turned president is facing too many questions about his finances and businesses, with multiple investigations trying to get ahold of his financial records and/or taxes.
And it seems that, along with the Trump name now being associated with the man's political beliefs, is hurting his businesses. There are reports that Trump Tower is in disrepair with condos losing money, and his Doral resort is in a steep decline in value. A tax consultant for the Trump Organization blames it on a "negative connotation" of the brand.
At one time Trump Tower was a sought-after place to live with some units selling even as much as $15 million. But to keep up with that type of value, you have to continually update the building — and can't have a controversial owner.
Since Trump was elected, 13 condos have reportedly been sold, with many selling at a loss when inflation is factored in. Vanity Fair compares that to the overall sale of homes in Manhattan in that same time. Only .23 percent sold for a loss.
One tenant sold his parents' unit for $1.83 million last year, though they'd put $400,000 into it in renovations and bought it at $1.4 million. He described that "the name on the building became a problem. ... No one wants in that building."
At the same time, a real-estate agent claims clients have told him repeatedly not to show them units in Trump buildings. A commercial real-estate broker says that businesses won't consider setting up shop in one of the president's properties until he's out of office.
A consultant for Trump's company said late last year that business at the Doral resort was in a steep decline. This is despite Trump listing the Miami hotel as his biggest moneymaker hotel in federal disclosures.
But room rates, banquets, golf, and overall revenue are down since 2015, the year Trump announced he was running for president.
The net operating income has fallen the past two years, his time in office, by 69 percent. It was expected to bring in $85 million in 2017 yet only brought in $75 million.
Trump Organization tax consultant Jessica Vachiratevanurak said the Trump resort is "severely underperforming" other resorts in that same area when trying to get a lower property tax for Doral. She pinned the problem on a "negative connotation" with the brand.
Eric Trump disagrees with her. "This story is completely senseless," he said in a statement. "Our iconic properties are the best in the world, and our portfolio is unrivaled by anyone."
The Trump Organization issued a statement contradicting Vachiratevanurak as well. They blame the sharp decline on the Zika virus in 2016 and the 2016 and 2017 hurricanes, claiming those drove tourists away from the South Florida area. This is despite competing resorts outperforming the Trump resort.
The organization is also claiming that 2018 "was a remarkable year for [Doral], and 2019 is off to an unbelievable start," but it offered no data to back that up, coinciding with Trump's refusal to give up any financial records or tax returns.
Further, properties that Trump has an interest in in New York and San Francisco, yet that don't bear his name, have seen their values increased in that same time frame.
"Being president has cost me a fortune — a tremendous fortune like you've never seen before," Trump said last year when trying to show he was not using the presidency to boost his businesses.
In the time since he ran for office, Macy's department store dropped his brand, some New York City buildings dropped his name from the properties, and three locations with the Trump hotel chain cut their ties with the brand. The company's plans to build several new low-cost hotels have gone nowhere.
Even the Chicago hotel has seen a fall in revenue, but the organization blames it on "the perceived threat of gun violence." And again, competitors in the area have not seen the same decline.
What it appears is that Trump is not able to transfer success with his base to his businesses. His base seems more likely to buy MAGA hats than buy an NYC high-rise condo or stay in a fancy resort or hotel.
22 August, 2019
By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Jair Bolsonaro (Image source: Public domain) After last year's wildfires in California, the United States knows a little about the pain of going......More
22 August, 2019
By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Jay Inslee (Image source: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons) The second Democratic nominee in a week has dropped out of the race for the 2020......More
22 August, 2019
New research reveals older people with a weak hand grip could signal diminished cognitive and memory. Loss of handgrip by 11 pounds put people at a 10% risk of cognitive impairment and an 18% risk......More