By Jeff Barton
After a lengthy and very public squabble, the Trump Organization was removed Monday as managers of the hotel operation of the Ocean Club tower.
The move was initiated by Ithaca Capital Investments, the group that bought 202 of the hotel units last September. The new owners moved to oust Trump as managers of the hotel, charging the group with mismanagement and a deterioration of the brand since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.
Trump managers fought the move, setting off a 12-day dispute that made international headlines, including a blurry phone video of a confrontation in the hotel offices. But Monday the Panama courts intervened and local police quietly oversaw the turnover of the management duties.
“This was purely a commercial dispute that just spun out of control,” Orestes Fintiklis, the spokesman for the new owners, told the Associated Press (AP) “And today this dispute has been settled by the authorities and the judges of this country.”
By the afternoon, the Trump name was being removed from the hotel, ending a long and often tumultuous relationship with Panama’s iconic tower. The homeowners association representing the condominium owners broke ties to Trump management in 2015.
The likely next step is for the owners to hire a new management firm, which will rebrand the facility. Marriott International executives have already been scouting the property, according to the AP report.
In talks with reporters Monday, Fintiklis praised the Panama judicial system.
“Panama has shown to have stable institutions, legal security and a legal framework that respects investors, and today each one of the international investors who have invested in this country must feel safe,” Fintiklis said, according to La Estrella.
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Jeff Barton is managing director of Punta Pacifica Realty, the top sales and property management company in the waterfront skyscraper community of Punta Pacifica.