The Trump Organisation: A vast business

2016-12-01 07:46
A New York City Police Department observation post watches over Fifth Avenue and Trump Tower,  which has become an even bigger drawcard for visitors since the election. (Richard Drew, AP)

A New York City Police Department observation post watches over Fifth Avenue and Trump Tower, which has become an even bigger drawcard for visitors since the election. (Richard Drew, AP)

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Washington - The Trump Organisation, the business conglomerate run by President-elect Donald Trump, oversees vast luxury real estate assets and golf courses around the world, creating a complex web of potential conflicts of interest.

Trump announced on Wednesday that pending legal arrangements would take him "completely out of business operations" in a bid to address any such conflicts.

The legend of his rise notwithstanding, Trump is not a self-made man.

Luxury properties

After World War II, Trump's father Fred, the descendant of German immigrants, had already built a real estate business in New York in developing low and middle-income housing.

Donald Trump took over in the 1970s, securing a $1m loan from his father and focusing the business instead on Manhattan luxury properties.

Trump Tower, which today is the Trump Organisation's headquarters, opened in 1983 and was followed by a series of New York buildings and luxury properties.

The company's website lists more than 20 residential developments in the United States, mainly in Manhattan and Florida, but also including cities such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Prominent buildings emblazoned with the Trump name have also been built in India, Turkey and South Korea, countries with which the United States maintains diplomatic relations, which could create conflicts of interest once Trump takes control of US foreign affairs.

Trump's empire also contains golf courses and luxury hotels in the United States and abroad. The most recent, the Trump International Hotel, opened in Washington in September just a stone's throw from the White House.

The company is no longer active in casinos, a sector that nearly ruined Trump in the 1990s, when he declared bankruptcy four times.

Minority interest

The Trump name, used to market clothing lines and steaks, remains on some casinos, showing the difficulty that exists sometimes in separating Trump's brand from his actual assets.

Because the Trump Organisation is privately held, the company and three of Trump's children, Ivanka, Donald Jr and Eric, can keep its activities and investments relatively secret.

The company does not disclose its ownership stake in properties, whether it holds only a minority interest or is merely leasing its name. The Trump Organisation's debts are also closely guarded.

Trump's personal fortune is also open to discussion.

Forbes estimates it at $3.7bn, while the former reality TV star claims it is three times greater.

Trump has steadfastly refused to publish his income tax returns, flouting a long established political tradition in the United States.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  us

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