Trump golf resort posts losses
A second Scottish golf resort owned by American President Donald Trump posted losses last year as his company faced an anti-Trump backlash, roadblocks to expansion plans and a dip in the local economy.
A report from the United Kingdom's Companies House shows the Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen £1.3 million last year (US$1.6 million at current exchange rates) on a fall in revenues, adding to a string of losses at the North Sea resort in recent years. The loss was smaller than the previous year's as the company trimmed some costs, including cutting a few jobs.
The report comes days after Trump's Turnberry resort along the Irish Sea on the other side of Scotland posted millions of dollars losses, too.
Trump's company blamed its Aberdeen results on a dip in the local economy, but it has struggled there for years. It lost a court fight to stop an offshore windmill farm, drew objections from environmental regulators over his development plans, fought angry homeowners who say Trump bullied them into selling to him and contended with anti-Trump protesters.
His son Eric Trump said in a letter accompanying the 2017 results that the resort continues to "soar" in world golf rankings, but noted it has faced setbacks.
"The crash in the oil price and economic downturn experienced in the northeast of Scotland has, however, resulted in a drop to local spending and consequently revenues have decreased by 3 per cent," he wrote.
Despite the trouble, the president's company is planning a major development at the resort. In July, his company submitted plans to local Scottish officials to spend nearly £150 million (US$196 million) building The Trump Estate, a residential community of 500 luxury cottages and mansions.
The expansion would include plans for construction of retail space, equestrian and sports centres and 50 "hotel" cottages. If it gets government approval, the company expects to break ground early next year.
Ethics lawyers have said that any expansion there requiring government review raises the possibility Trump's business could get special favours as the UK begins tricky negotiations with the United States on a post-Brexit trade deal.
The Trump International Golf Links, ranked 64 in Golf Digest's best courses, overlooks a North Sea coastline famed for dramatic, fragile sand dunes stretching into the horizon.
Some locals praise the Trump resort for bringing tourists to the area and helping with other local businesses, but others are angry at the US president and have protested during his visits. Citing Trump's comments about Muslims during the campaign, the Scottish government stripped Trump's honorary title as business ambassador for Scotland, and an honorary degree from local university was revoked.