Monday, 23 July, 2018

Watch a hotel rip Trump's name off its sign

Orestes Fintiklis manager of the Miami-based private equity fund Ithaca Capital plays a piano at the lobby of the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City Police Officers Brawl With Trump Hotel Employees in Panama to Evict Trump Organization
Andrew Cummings | 07 March, 2018, 11:43

"Today, this dispute has been settled by the judges and the authorities of this country", Fintiklis said, according to The Washington Post. He declared that he was so impressed by Panama's legal system that he would soon become a Panamanian citizen himself.

The most recent feuding between the two parties began on February 22 when Fintiklis came to the hotel to serve termination notices for Trump's management team, but Trump hotel officials turned the businessman away.

Fintiklis played a Greek song on the hotel lobby piano Monday, which he had done throughout the dispute to mark certain victories.

Trump's Panama property has always been considered one of the president's most controversial investments. The president's company doesn't own the building, but it had a contract to manage the hotel until 2031.

A legal battle began last fall with Ithaca Capital claiming in a lawsuit that the hotel had "steadily been losing market share and stands in last place among its peer luxury hotels in all the relevant metrics for success in the hotel industry".

"We are ALL losing money and it is getting worse".

The Monday showdown at the hotel began with the arrival of the majority owner, Orestes Fintiklis, 39, followed by a contingent of court officials and police officers - and a Panamanian court order authorizing a change of administration.

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He noted that, in 58 units, the owners had lost so much money on rentals that they were refusing to pay their condo fees.

For its part, the Trump Organization said Mr Fintiklis was breaching his contractual commitments. Their dispute spawned a lawsuit in NY, and an worldwide arbitration case.

"Trump Hotels is totally convinced it will not only prevail but that it should also be paid damages, costs and other charges related to today's actions", Trump Hotels' lawyers said in a statement. That tactic failed, at first - Trump staffers refused to allow him in, and Fintiklis played a mournful tune in the lobby in protest.

"This was purely a commercial dispute that just spun out of control", Fintiklis said in a statement.

The White House has not responded to inquiries.

For more than a week, Trump's hotel business staved off efforts by Fintiklis and his allies to gain control of the property, with rival security teams skirmishing over physical control of key infrastructure. But he still owns these businesses, and he can withdraw money from them at any time.

Even with the Trump team reportedly ousted from the property, however, questions about Trump's business acumen, and the threat his tangled overseas assets pose to his presidency, linger. All of this led to a November vote where the hotel's owner's association chose to do away with the Trump name and management.

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