From country clubs to entertainment shows, President Donald Trump’s business empire could face heavy pressure after his involvement in last week’s vio
From country clubs to entertainment shows, President Donald Trump’s business empire could face heavy pressure after his involvement in last week’s violence at the Capitol.
While consumer mass-market merchandise deals for Trump ties, steaks and his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line largely evaporated years ago, the president still holds millions of dollars worth of real estate development and name licensing deals.
Those lucrative arrangements could be at risk if partners follow the lead of the PGA of America, which on Sunday pulled the 2022 PGA Championship tournament from the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, citing Trump’s involvement in the unrest in Washington, D.C., last week.
PGA President Jim Richerson said in statements the board of directors voted to “exercise the right to terminate the agreement“ because holding the tournament there would be “detrimental to the PGA of America brand” and damage its long-term growth.
“We have had a beautiful partnership with the PGA of America and are incredibly disappointed with their decision,” the Trump Organization said in a statement Sunday. “This is a breach of a binding contract, and they have no right to terminate the agreement.”
On Monday, R&A, which runs the Open Championship, the world’s oldest and most prestigious golf championship, announced it had no plans at present or future to stage the tournament again at Trump’s Turnberry Golf resort in Scotland, despite having hosted it four times and in 2016 saying the course was part of the pool of nine potential locations.
“We will not return until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself, and we do not believe that is achievable in the current circumstances,” R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said in a statement.
A litany of other deals could be under review by businesses as they, in turn, assess the legal options and risks.
“They’re reviewing what adverse effect, if any, this could have on their company due to their association with the Trump name,” William O’Connor, a partner at the Thompson & Knight real estate group in New York City, told NBC News.
Trump’s wealth largely rests on his real-estate ventures. He owns the Mar-a-Lago and Trump Doral resorts in Florida, Trump Tower in New York and Trump Doonbeg golf resort in Ireland.
He also has a prominent partnership with Vornado Realty Trust for properties at 1290 Sixth Avenue in New York City and 555 California St. in San Francisco. Vornado Realty Trust did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, after difficulties with debt and failed development properties, Trump pivoted to a different business model: Instead of building properties himself and taking on those risks, he would sell the rights to his name to other developers. For example, Trump Golf Links in New York’s Bronx is owned by the City but operated by Trump’s company.
Some properties have since voted to remove or diminish the prominence of the Trump name.
In Trump’s home town alone there are 17 properties that bear — or used to bear — the Trump name, including Trump International Hotel, 1 Central Park West and Trump Palace Condominiums at 200 East 69th Street. But Trump himself only directly owns a handful, according to research by Actovia, a real estate analytics company.
In 2018, the majority owner of the property known as the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Panama City, Panama, removed the president’s name, saying it impaired the hotel’s ability to attract guests. It has since rebranded as the JW Marriott Panama.
Properties in Toronto and Rio de Janeiro that also boasted the Trump moniker now also sport a different name.
Pending developments in India and Bali are still listed on the Trump Organization website as bearing the logo, and Trump also has several international properties listed on a Trump Organization disclosure document as “branded” by Trump but not managed by the president’s company, including Trump Tower at Century City in the Philippines, Trump Towers Istanbul and Trump Tower Mumbai.
Depending on how those deals are structured, each of these — and others — could be contract-based and could contain clauses pertaining to moral turpitude, bad acts, or could simply be subject to “termination,” O’Connor said.
“Some of these brand and licensing arrangements are periodically renewable or reviewable,” and the licensing party could decide to end the agreement, O’Connor said.
In another potential stress, online activists began compiling lists of corporate tenants at Trump-owned and branded properties, who could be subject to consumer pressure.
The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment.
Labels and retailers began abandoning the Trump brand at the start of his controversial presidential campaign. Department stores no longer offer Trump-branded jewelry, bedding, home fragrance, and barware. Macy’s pulled its Trump-branded clothing and accessories line in 2015. Ivanka’s women’s clothing collection was shuttered after brands like Nordstrom stopped carrying it, removing signage and relegating remaining stock to sales racks.
But there are four categories where the Trump name still resonates, according to Brand Keys, a brand research consultancy: TV entertainment, country and golf clubs, real estate and hotels.
All but one has seen declines, showing a modest lift, but only among Republicans: TV entertainment.
“He took a sharp right into politics and changed precisely what he was selling,” said Robert Pasikoff, a researcher for Brand Keys.
The power of the Trump brand 20 years ago was such that simply adding his name to a building would increase the price per square foot.
“He was selling luxury, exclusivity,” Pasikoff said. “It was literally the ability for him, as a brand, to imbue added value to whatever it was. If it was ice cream, it was luxury ice cream. If it was an airline, it was a luxury flight.”
“The guy burned his bridges,” Pasikoff said. “He was one of the strongest human brands we had ever seen.”
Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com