The newly appointed President of the United States of America, Donald Trump whilst speaking during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, signals to piles of envelopes stating they contain documents validating a ‘new’ business arrangement. Trump has swore his enterprise will do “no new foreign deals” while he is president, but he left unclear just how precise are “new” and “deals.”  The statement is now under scrutiny as his enterprise confirms plans to expand its golf resort near Aberdeen, Scotland, raising concerns about conflicts of interest.  Trumps spokesperson reported that this is not a new deal, only another phase to the resort that was included in the broad plan and approved by the local authorities back in 2008.

“Each phase requires building permits, each phase requires financing, each phase poses additional conflicts of interest,” states Painter, a persistent Trump enemy who has insisted he sells his company. “Americans don’t want their president or any other high ranking official dependent on a foreign government for a building permit.”

Painter feels the expansion is particularly worrisome, due to the fact that the United States will need to negotiate a trade deal with the United Kingdom as it will soon leave the European Union.

“In that context, who is going to deny a permit to the president of the United States?” Painter said.

The Scottish resort is amongst many of the other unfinished resorts from the Worldwide Trump Empire, developments include a hotel in British Columbia, Vancouver, another golf course in Dubai and two resorts in Indonesia.

Back in 2008 the original tender for the resort, included plans for a 450 room hotel, a second golf course with 500 luxury homes and 900 Timeshare apartments, however, an article in the Guardian newspaper in Britain quoted plans were now for twice the number of homes and Timeshare apartments.

Aberdeenshire Council, could not comment nor confirm the Guardians figures, nevertheless they did mention plans for the second golf course are still under evaluation and have not yet been approved. An official website maintained by the government shows that the Trump Empire has had to undergo many evaluations since the 2008 plan was approved, these include small projects such as building a wall, adding six more rooms to the already existing hotel and even erecting a flagpole.

The hotel resort has faced many problems in the past.  Preservationists complained about the possible damage to Aberdeen’s dramatic dunes overlooking the wind-swept North Sea.  A documentary was filmed called “Tripping Up Trump.” The Trump Empire have also been challenged by fierce unfriendliness from local residents, which include a fisherman, who in the eyes of the locals became a hero after refusing an offer of $690,000 from Trump to buy his land.  Therefore, the pledge of “no new foreign deals” came at Trumps’ press conference last month where he revealed numerous other steps he would take to calm growing concerns that he could be tempted to put his private financial interests ahead of the public.

“His conflict situation is extraordinary and only extraordinary levels of transparency can combat the appearance that his new office is enriching him,” Sanderson said.

Many ethics lawyers are urging Trump to follow the example of previous presidents by selling his ownership in his company.

“President Trump should not be expected to destroy the company he built,” said Dillon, a partner at law firm Morgan, Lewis and Brokius.

Trump has been scaling down his businesses. Most recently, the Trump Empire has annulled deals and talks in several countries including, Brazil, Argentina, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Kathleen Clark, a former ethics lawyer for the District of Columbia, said the focus on new foreign deals misses the real problem. She said any Trump real estate project new or existing, foreign or domestic offers opportunity for government officials, corporate executives and ordinary people to curry favor with the new president. They can approve permits or purchase timeshare units or pay up to become members of his golf clubs.

Clark also fears that by enclosing the debate over conflicts so scarcely — what is “new?” what is a “deal?”

“Pinning him down and seeing whether he’s living up to his promise will get technical,” said Clark, a professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. “It won’t go radioactive. It will seem like a dull issue of technical compliance.”


Posted on: January 30, 2017

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