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07 March 2018, 11:45 | Myrtle Vega
Trump staff reportedly evicted as Panama hotel debacle comes to an end
A workman wielding a crowbar pried off the silver T-R-U-M-P name from the Trump International Hotel and Tower here in Panama City on Monday as the majority owner of the hotel declared victory in his fight to oust the American president's family business as managers of the property.
The lengthy standoff between the Trump Organization and a Panamanian hotel owner came to an end Monday.
The Trump Organization, which appears to have lost control of the management of the hotel in a bitter property dispute, at least temporarily, said it was "fully confident" it would prevail in the legal battle.
Fintiklis, who wants to drop the Trump name from the building, argued in court documents that the Trump Organization's mismanagement caused occupancy levels to drop while expenses rose.
The row erupted last month when Mr Fintiklis, a Miami-based investor who past year became owner of the majority of units in the building through a company he controls, said he wanted to boot the Trump Organisation out before its management contract was up, remove the Trump name and rebrand the building. Until litigation and arbitration involving the property was concluded, Trump officials said, they had no intention of leaving.
Fintiklis has been fighting to cancel the contract with the Trump Organization which runs through 2031 because he blamed the company and the Trump brand for a fall in profits.
For more than a week, Trump's hotel business staved off efforts by Fintiklis and his allies to gain control of the property, with rival security teams skirmishing over physical control of key infrastructure.
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"Today, this dispute has been settled by the judges and the authorities of this country", Fintiklis said, adding that he was so impressed by the Panamanian legal system that he would seek citizenship in the country.
And as the final humiliation, Fintiklis ordered Trump's name to be ripped off from the outside of the hotel - check out ABC News' video footage of Trump's name being torn down below. The owners also tried to get rid of the organization, but it refused to give up its physical control of the Panamanian hotel.
"Today Panama has made us proud", he said.
Trump Organization security abandoned the property.
Sitting at the piano in the hotel's lobby, surrounded by reporters and news cameras, he played Accordeon, a Greek song celebrating that country's fight to overthrow a fascist regime.
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.
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