Tuesday 21 November 2017

Trump Hotels dropped by Dallas developer after city councillor objects

Republican candidate Donald Trump on the campaign trail in Dallas in September 2015 Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Republican candidate Donald Trump on the campaign trail in Dallas in September 2015 Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Hui-yong Yu

Plans have been shelved for a proposed Dallas hotel carrying the Trump Organisation's Scion brand, according to a city council member who met with the developer of the proposed $50m (€47m) project on Tuesday.

Dallas councilman Philip Kingston said he was informed by Mike Sarimsakci, founder of Alterra International, that he plans to team with a different hotel operator for the downtown site.

Kingston said he met with Sarimsakci and others yesterday at Dallas City Hall at Sarimsakci's request.

The decision came after Kingston and another council member criticised the developer's plans to go into business with US President Donald Trump's company, Kingston said.

"Mike is trying to proceed with the project but the Trump Organisation is no longer the operator he is seeking to do a deal with," Kingston said.

Neither Sarimsakci nor representatives of the Trump Organisation immediately responded to calls and emails for comment after regular business hours. The news was first reported by the Dallas News website.

Sarimsakci said in February that the Scion project would be funded by individual investors in countries including the US, Turkey, Qatar and Kazakhstan.

The 220-room hotel was set to open in the first quarter of 2019. Trump's family company, now run by his two oldest sons, would have licensed the Scion brand and managed the hotel, and didn't plan to invest any equity capital, Sarimsakci said at the time. He said he had signed a letter of intent with the Trump Organisation.

Kingston said he is a Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton in the November election.

He said Trump's anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric, along with his actions and conflicts of interest as president, influenced his objections to the Scion project.

"The president is a bad brand and we have to protect the Dallas brand," Kingston said.

"We're trying to sell ourselves internationally as a city that's welcome and open for business travelers, new residents, innovators, young professionals and the president is an extremely bad brand," he added.

"He's a hateful and ignorant man who says things that are hurtful to the people I care about."

Kingston, a practising lawyer, said Trump's "disregard for the rule of law and for the decisions of the judiciary is specifically hurtful to me and my profession".

Dallas isn't the first city where the Trump Organisation's involvement in a new hotel has met with opposition since Donald Trump's arrival in the White House.

Last month, the US president's sons, Donald Jr and Eric, faced protests as they attended the opening of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in the Canadian city of Vancouver.

The hotel's branding was met with local anger after Trump vowed early on in his presidential bid to ban Muslims from entering the US and to build a wall to keep out Mexicans.

"Trump's name and brand have no more place on Vancouver's skyline than his ignorant ideas have in the modern world," mayor Gregor Robertson wrote in December 2015 to the hotel's developer, backing a petition signed by more than 50,000 people demanding that the Trump name be removed from the tower.


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