Trump International Golf Links Aberdeen
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Underlying Assets: Golf Course and Resort Location: Aberdeen, Scotland Purchase Date: ~<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2006/09/28/a-heady-mixture-of-royalty-and-rye-span-classbankheadprince-helps-open-restored-distilleryspan/d3b9ff85-8feb-4af4-8402-2ee902013fe3/">2006</a> Total Investment: ~$47,941,920 (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/12/donald-trump-scotland-golf-course-resort-losses">£39,400,000</a>) Reported Income: $4,349,651 (<a href="http://ragepath.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/trump-fec-financial-disclosure-2015.pdf">2015</a>) Actual Income: ($1,600,000) (<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/10/12/trumps-scottish-golf-resorts-report-2015-losses/">2015</a>) Discrepancy: $5,949,651 Website: <a href="http://www.trumpgolfscotland.com/">trumpgolfscotland.com</a>
Course Opened in 2012 After 6 Years in Development
Donald Trump first began developing a golf course and resort in the Scottish town of Aberdeenshire in <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2006/09/28/a-heady-mixture-of-royalty-and-rye-span-classbankheadprince-helps-open-restored-distilleryspan/d3b9ff85-8feb-4af4-8402-2ee902013fe3/">2006</a>. Trump's plan was initially rejected by local officials in <a href="https://mobile.nytimes.com/2007/11/30/sports/golf/30sportsbriefs-trump.html">November of 2007</a>. Trump ultimately received approval from Scotland's parliament, which <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/03/AR2008110302916.html">overrode the local government</a>'s rejection of the plan. The course and resort opened to the public <a href="https://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/03/golf-course-vs-dunes-a-rebellion-that-failed/?_r=0">in 2012</a>.
Conflicting Income Reports
Trump reported that Trump International Golf Links Scotland earned income of $4,349,651 in his <a href="http://ragepath.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/trump-fec-financial-disclosure-2015.pdf">2015 financial disclosure</a>. Trump <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/10/12/trumps-scottish-golf-resorts-report-2015-losses/">reported to British officials</a> that Turnberry lost approximately $1.6 million in 2015. Trump has told reporters that the discrepancy reflects his decision to report "projected future income" on his campaign finance disclosures, rather than actual income.
Trump said in the interview that the amounts listed in his financial disclosures are based on "projected future income." He attributed the losses to ongoing construction projects and said he has yet to unlock the value in developing the properties for housing. "They’re only losing money because they’re not open," he said. Actually, his golf course and hotel in Aberdeenshire are open as is his hotel in Ireland, although that golf course is only partly open, the rest under renovation. Trump said he’s spending $58 million on Turnberry which he closed last September for refurbishment. (Bloomberg, <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-02-24/a-look-inside-trump-s-global-deals-exposes-trouble-in-many-spots">February 24, 2016)</a>
Eric Trump has claimed that the figures released by Trump to American voters reflect "gross revenue."
Trump told Bloomberg News, which <a title="www.bloomberg.com" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-02-24/a-look-inside-trump-s-global-deals-exposes-trouble-in-many-spots" target="_blank" shape="rect">first reported</a> on the gap between the reports, that the amounts he listed on his U.S. filings were “projected future income.” Trump’s son Eric, who takes the lead in golf course developments, said in an interview that the U.S. disclosure forms report gross revenue, not net income. He also said the British and Irish courses are losing money only because the Trump Organization is spending aggressively to turn them into leading international resorts. (Washington Post, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-top-example-of-foreign-experience-a-scottish-golf-course-losing-millions/2016/06/22/12ae9cb0-1883-11e6-9e16-2e5a123aac62_story.html">June 22, 2016</a>)
Trump's golf course and resort are owned by a company named Trump International Golf Links - Scotland. Ownership of Trump International Golf Links - Scotland ultimately traces 100% back to Donald J. Trump.
Trump International Golf Links - Scotland:
99% owned by Donald J. Trump
1% owned by Trump Scotland Member Inc.
100% owned by Donald J. Trump
(Trump's <a href="http://ragepath.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/trump-fec-financial-disclosure-2016.pdf">2016 Financial Disclosure</a>)
Trump Efforts to Confiscate Neighbors' Land
Trump's development efforts in Aberdeen led to an extensive feud with various neighbors who owned land that Trump sought to confiscate. The Washington Post published an excellent article on the conflict during the campaign. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-top-example-of-foreign-experience-a-scottish-golf-course-losing-millions/2016/06/22/12ae9cb0-1883-11e6-9e16-2e5a123aac62_story.html?utm_term=.a2ceb3f7af5a">Click here</a> to read it.
Trump Fought to Block Nearby Wind Farm
Trump fought unsuccessfully to prevent development of wind turbines off the Scottish coast near his resort. Trump argued the wind farm would ruin the view from his course. Trump took his opposition to the wind farm to Britain's highest court. After losing, Trump threatened to withdraw all his investments from Scotland. The New York Times published an excellent article on the issue. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/world/europe/donald-trump-scotland-wind-farm.html?_r=0">Click here</a> to read it.
Trump Development Disturbed Rare Dunes
Trump's Aberdeen development required disturbing beach-side sand dunes that had existed for 4,000 years and were considered a significant environmental resource. Concerns about the dunes were ultimately outweighed by Trump's promises of investment and economic development. Some of Trump's local supporters have since expressed a feeling of betrayal, as Trump's investments were ultimately far smaller than he had initially promised.
The visit clearly did not impress Mr. Ford, then the chairman of the planning committee at Aberdeenshire Council, which refused Mr. Trump permission for his golf course on environmental grounds. The ancient dunes, the committee concluded, were a “site of special scientific interest,” or as Mr. Ford put it, “Scotland’s equivalent of the Amazonian rain forest.”
In the end, it was Mr. Salmond, a self-described golf fanatic whose constituency includes Balmedie, who came to Mr. Trump’s defense, granting permission to proceed in the “national economic interest.”
“Six thousand jobs across Scotland, 1,400 local and permanent jobs in the northeast of Scotland,” Mr. Salmond said at the time. “That outweighs the environmental concerns.”
Eight years later he contends that Mr. Trump took him in: “If, knowing what I know now, I had the ability to go back, I would rewrite that page,” Mr. Salmond said in an interview. “Most developments balance economic against environmental issues. The problem, and it’s a big problem, is that Donald Trump didn’t do what he promised.”(New York Times, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/world/europe/donald-trump-scotland-wall.html">November 25, 2016)</a>
11/4/08: Trump plans obtain permission despite environmental objections
Scottish officials on Monday approved U.S. tycoon Donald Trump's controversial plans to build what Trump calls "the greatest golf course in the world" along Scotland's wind-swept northeastern coast. Over objections from environmentalists who say local officials have been "blinded by the bling," government planners gave the go-ahead for Europe's largest golf and housing resort, a 1,400-acre, $1.6 billion complex of two championship courses, a 450-bed hotel, 500 private houses and 950 time-share villas. "We are greatly honored by the positive decision and believe that the people of Scotland will be extremely happy with the final product," Trump said in a statement after winning a two-year battle in which his opponents portrayed him as a greedy outsider with little regard for the area's fragile ecosystem. In a telephone interview later, Trump, whose mother was born in Scotland, said environmental concerns had been addressed, adding that "everyone's going to benefit" from the jobs and revenue generated. But critics said Trump had "steamrolled" Scottish officials desperate for some good economic news. The project had in some ways become a referendum on the flamboyant New York real estate magnate's outsize personality, which grated on some local people when the multimillionaire came to visit. "It's one set of rules for other developers and another for Trump," said Jonny Hughes of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The Scottish government took over consideration of the project last December after a local committee rejected it and Trump suggested moving it to Northern Ireland. Hughes said Trump had "bullied" the government into accepting his entire project rather than a scaled-back plan that Hughes said would have provided more protection for vast sand dunes that the government has classified as a protected site. "Scottish ministers were blinded by the bling -- the huge economic carrot that overwhelmed the planning system," Hughes said in an interview. Scottish business interests and top government officials praised the Trump project as an important economic boost for Scotland. Trump has said the project would create 1,400 permanent full-time jobs and housing for 400 workers and would generate more than $100 million a year for the region's economy. "It is entirely right and proper that the resources of the country are harnessed to boost one of our great industries, and tourism is a great Scottish industry," said Alex Salmond, the chief minister of the Scottish government, whose constituency includes the project site. Finance Minister John Swinney, who oversaw the government's review of the project, said the investigation concluded that "there was significant economic and social benefit to be gained from this project." Critics have complained that Trump's project would benefit wealthy golfers from overseas far more than local working families. Others said Trump's economic projections were far too rosy in view of the current global financial crisis. "Trump's plan is to build luxury holiday homes for foreign visitors who may never come, a golf course that few will play and homes that few will be able to afford," Patrick Harvie, a Green Party member of the Scottish Parliament, told reporters. "We can only hope that the current economic crisis tears a hole in his business plan and that he fails to get the money he needs to fund the project," Harvie said. "Even the credit crunch must surely have a silver lining." Trump, in the interview, said he had not scaled back his project. It would be "a couple of years" before the golf courses open, he said, and then he would evaluate the economic climate and "see where the world is." Trump said the project had adequate safeguards to protect the fragile dunes in the area, which are home to a wide variety of birds and other animals. But Aedan Smith of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said the project would "cause the destruction of a dune system, with its precious wildlife, on a site that is protected by law and should continue to be available for future generations to enjoy." "We, and the thousands of other objectors, consider that this is too high a price to pay for the claimed economic benefits from this development," Smith said. Martin Ford, a local Aberdeenshire councilor, said he believed Trump was building a "vanity project" that amounted to a Scottish trophy for his real estate empire. Trump shook off that criticism, saying, "Owning the greatest golf course anywhere in the world is a great trophy, and I don't mind saying it." (Washington Post, November 4, 2008)
8/3/12: Aberdeen course official opened on July 15, 2012
It's been six years since Donald Trump flew to northeastern Scotland to announce plans to build a $1 billion golf course. Permission was initially denied by the local Aberdeenshire Council but was then granted by the Scottish government on the ground that it was in the nation's best interests. On July 15, Trump International Golf Links finally opened. But not everyone was delighted to see one of Britain's last stretches of coastal wilderness transformed into a putting green.
(New York Times, August 3, 2012)
10/12/16: Aberdeen lost $1.6 million in 2015, 4x as much since 2012
A pair of luxe Scottish golf resorts operated by Donald Trump suffered millions of dollars in losses during 2015, according to recent filings with a U.K. government agency, adding another complication to Trump's pitch for the White House, in which he has frequently emphasized his business acumen. […] Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited, which oversees the Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen, suffered an operating loss of nearly 1.1 million British pounds (about $1.6 million at the end of 2015), according to its filing. According to previous filings for the resort, Trump lost more than 4.7 million pounds dating back to 2012. (Washington Post, October 12, 2016)