The Trump International Hotel and Tower Panama bears the Trump name no more.
After a protracted, strange standoff over the status of the hotel, its majority owner, Orestes Fintiklis, managing director of Ithaca Capital Partners, has taken control of the property and unceremoniously removed the Trump Hotels name from its facade. A Panamanian judicial official and police officers backed Fintiklis’ claim to the hotel, granting him possession of the 70-story property.
“This was purely a commercial dispute that just spun out of control,” Fintiklis said in a statement. “And today this dispute has been settled by the authorities and the judges of this country.”
The Trump International Hotel and Tower Panama was completed in 2011, and Ithaca Capital Partners purchased 202 of the property’s 369 condo units in 2017, giving the company a majority stake in the hotel’s operations. Since then, Fintiklis took issue with the property’s falling occupancy levels, which reached a record low of 26 percent last year. All of this led to a November vote where the hotel’s owner’s association chose to do away with the Trump name and management. Fintiklis led the charge, and proclaimed his intention to hire a new management team and rebrand the property.
In a statement, lawyers from The Trump Organization said that despite a judicial official siding with Fintiklis, no Panamanian court has made a determination in the dispute between Ithaca Capital Partners and the Trump International Hotel and Tower Panama. The Trump Organization maintains the hotel has appointed interim management as they await a review from an arbitration panel.
“Trump Hotels is totally convinced it will not only prevail but that it should also be paid damages, costs and other charges related to today’s actions,” Trump Hotels’ lawyers said in a statement.
These words are not to be taken lightly—the Trump Organization’s management team has shown that it is not willing to vacate the property without a fight. In January, Fintiklis invited a team from Marriott International to tour the property without informing the Trump Hotel's management team, prompting them to turn Marriott's group away at the door. Last week, when Fintiklis attempted to wrest back control of his property, hotel management locked themselves in a secure, guarded room and let their security team spar with Fintiklis’ own.
The instance led to a member of the hotel’s owner’s association being shoved by an unknown security official—an event that was caught on film. It was this encounter that led to an intervention from Panama’s government.
Now, the Trump Hotels brand operates 11 properties in its portfolio after hotels in Toronto and New York similarly voted to step away from the brand recently.