The Contrarian

“In the investment markets, what everyone knows is usually not worth knowing.”

Trump Cancels Overseas Projects

We had always thought that Trump’s licensing his name for large real estate projects internationally was genius: you get money without all the headaches of developing, such as permitting, land acquisition, negotiating with contractors, paying off governmental officials, etc.

As we learn now, the saying that “all that glitters is not gold” is very true. The Trump organization is now withdrawing from such deals in countries where there could be a conflict. In the process, it was revealed that revenues for 2015 and part of 2016 was a mere $323,150. For a multi-billion dollar business, that’s merely annoyance, certainly not worth the effort.

Imagine the headaches that went along with that licensing. The problems of local developers when they engaged in activities such as paying off local politicians, big construction delays and unhappy customers, some developers removing the name “Trump” ahead of the election win, because of the controversy, and then putting the name back on after the win. All damaged the brand of Trump although he had nothing to do with the problems.

Bloomberg reported:

“A planned Trump hotel in Rio de Janeiro was the subject of a criminal probe and a separate office complex in the city never broke ground. His partner in Azerbaijan, where a Trump Tower was built but never opened, had family ties to the government. A Buenos Aires tower didn’t have the required permits, and a condominium building in Batumi, Georgia had been stalled since 2012 amid a change in the country’s leadership.”

So far, the canceled arrangements announced are those in Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil and Georgia.

According to Bloomberg.com:

“The president-elect remains legally and financially tied to business partners around the world in countries that could pose conflicts, including Canada, the Philippines, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, India, Uruguay, Panama and Indonesia. Partnerships in those eight countries, including two Dubai golf clubs and two Indonesian resorts advertised as having “six-star” service, paid him as much as $45 million in the period ending in May of 2016, his filing shows.”

Our comment: Although many politicians don’t know it, because they have been feeding at the public trough forever, doing business is not easy. It is full of obstacles. It’s commendable that a developer like Trump, who is worth billions of dollars, couldn’t be found to have done anything illegal in spite of dozens of journalists being commissioned with the sole task of finding dirt on the candidate ahead of the election.

The only thing found was an old video of him making remarks about women, something that can be heard in any locker room in the world, not just America. How many political candidates could pass such an investigatory effort? Certainly the opposition presidential candidate couldn’t. But that is widely ignored, especially by the Hollywood crowd.