APRIL 2017

Sons seek to expand Trump empire to Don-friendly states

View of the swimming pool of the Trump International Beach HotelThe company will complete existing projects, including ones in India, the United Arab Emirates and the Dominican Republic

Apprentices no more, Donald Trump’s sons, now at the helm of the Trump Organisation, are eyeing ways to use the new lease on the family fame by expanding the brand into parts of the United States that embrace their father.

Some business has slowed as a result of the pledge to stall international deal-making while Mr Trump is president.

But sons Eric and Donald Jr. are planning a US push with two new hotel chains – a four-star brand and a less luxurious line – being considered, possibly in states where Mr. Trump triumphed over Democrat Hillary Clinton last November.

I think it makes it naturally easier if you’re going into a place that’s not adversarial to you, Donald Jr said in a recent interview.

The Trump Organisation is a private, family-run business that owns billions of dollars’ worth of hotels, office buildings, golf courses and management and licensing agreements.

Although foreign deals are on hold, the company will complete existing projects, including ones in India, the United Arab Emirates and the Dominican Republic.

Because overseas markets have been hotter for the Trump brand, the company could lose some new revenue, the president’s sons suggested.

Last year the company announced the creation of a four-star hotel chain called Scion, which is meant to offer upmarket service in US cities that could not support a full-fledged Trump luxury property.

More than two dozen letters of intent have been signed, though no ground has been broken yet.

Among the possible locations being considered are Texas, parts of the South, and perhaps the nation’s capital, where the hotel would exist with the Trump luxury property in the former home of the Old Post Office, not far from the White House.

The company is also in the very early stages of considering a three-star hotel chain.

Experts said the plan would not seem to breach any ethics standards, even if the hotels ended up in some of the economically-depressed regions whose voters rallied for Mr. Trump and may not be able to afford a luxury brand.

It would be no different from cashing in on the name of a non-political celebrity, they said.

Similarly, daughter Ivanka Trump has made a pitch for her father’s blue-collar supporters by replacing her high-end jewellery line with a mass-market brand.

It would not seem to blur any lines with the presidency, said Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University.

She said that while questions can be raised about some of the company’s behaviour, a pitch into Trump-friendly states seemed like a reasonable business strategy.

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Santo Domingo Live, by www.eastlothiancourier.com, 04.25.17, 11p.m.

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