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Trump's Company Cuts Ties To NYC Hotel

Nov 23, 2017
Originally published on November 23, 2017 8:18 am
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NOEL KING, HOST:

President Trump's business interests are in the news today. Trump's company says it's cutting ties with the Trump SoHo. That's a condo hotel in New York that's struggled for years to find customers. NPR's Jim Zarroli has the story.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The construction of the 46-story Trump SoHo was unveiled with great fanfare by Trump himself on "The Apprentice" back in 2006.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The other project is in New York City's trendiest neighborhood, SoHo. Here it is.

ZARROLI: Although the project bore his name, Trump didn't put any of his own money into it. Instead, he got paid a fee for the use of his name, and the Trump organization managed the property. But the Trump SoHo was troubled from the start. One of the developers, the Bayrock Group, was run by a Russian-born ex-convict who was accused by the U.S. government of having mafia ties. Like Trump projects in Azerbaijan and Toronto, the Trump SoHo's financing was murky. James Henry is a global justice fellow at Yale who has written about Trump's business ties.

JAMES HENRY: All of these projects were, you know, part of a more than $2 billion portfolio, where Trump was relying heavily on former Soviet Union capital flight to finance his projects.

ZARROLI: One Bayrock partner later sued the firm, accusing it of money laundering and tax evasion. Trump also settled a suit by condo buyers who said he had misrepresented how many of the building's units were sold. After the real estate crash, Bayrock was forced to sell most of the units. Since his election, there have been reports that Trump hotels have had to lower their room rates. And a restaurant at the Trump SoHo closed in April. Again, James Henry.

HENRY: Whether the Trump Organization made money is another question. They have received fees for their brand, but all the evidence is that the property has been economically kind of a failed project.

ZARROLI: The announcement yesterday means that the Trump Organization will no longer manage the SoHo property, but it's not clear whether his name will be removed from the building. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.