Trumped by Panama

The Panamanian government is in dispute with an owners’ association and Trump Hotels.  This was after an attempt to dislodge the Trump name from the Trump International Hotel and Tower Panama occurred.

The matter first came to light when the property owners’ association voted to remove Trump’s management team.  This was in January when  it was alleged that there had been “gross mismanagement, breaches of contract, conversion, and breaches of fiduciary duties.”  As a result, the Public Ministry of Panama is looking into the allegations seriously and as to whether or not any action is warranted.  Accordingly, investigations continue.

Part of the investigation has yielded that the hotels as having a valid contract to manage the property and a Miami based Company do not wish for this to continue.  The Federal Prosecutors have examined accusations over documents being shredded, electrical equipment disputes and of the office being barricaded.  Property owners also publicly have complained of being barred from access during the period of dispute.  When claiming access to property attempts were being made, a statement concerning “hostile attempts” to take over the hotel was released.  They retaliated with their statement condemning the bully tactics employed, indicating that the matter should be settled in arbitration.  Trump Hotels, on the other hand, feel that they will succeed in court proceedings. 

Clearly, the matter escalated quickly and involved police, notices of termination and loss of staff.  Some staff was secure and even protected by police.  The owners’ association requested for power to be shut off knowing that internet and phone supply access would be gone.   This resulted in another management team member of hotel operations of Trump Hotels to travel to the property with increased security.  Employees are also being consulted to ensure that no confusion existed concerning who was “in charge”.

The other party claims to be the ‘true employer’ and made it clear to hotel employees that they were being taken advantage of in order to gain financial and strategic benefits by also putting jobs at risk.  The ‘true employer’ would stand by those during the times

No further comments have been made.  Other hotels in other cities have also voted to remove the Trump name brand from their facade and it will be seen as to how Panama wishes to handle this as further developments are made.  It appears that an overall displeasure with the Trump management team is part of the factoring in of the hotel’s low occupancy levels.

Panama has its own legal battles in looking to its former president for charges of espionage and embezzlement.  Whether they will tiptoe around this issue and risk its relationship with the President of the United States over a hotel is yet to be seen.

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