President-elects team does not consider multimillion-dollar plans in conflict with written vow to end new foreign investments, which critics call ambiguous
The Trump Organization will press ahead with multimillion-dollar plans to expand one of the president-elects golf resorts in Scotland, despite its apparent pledge to halt new investments overseas.
Trump officials said the plans for the Trump International Golf Course Scotland in Aberdeenshire likely to immediately involve extending its boutique hotel and building a second 18-hole golf course did not conflict with his promise not to pursue new or pending deals outside the US.
Implementing future phasing of existing properties does not constitute a new transaction so we intend to proceed, a Trump Organization spokeswoman told the Guardian.
The expansion plans could see the resort grow substantially, with a new 450-room five-star hotel, timeshare complex and private housing estate. This would greatly increase the value to the Trump Organization of an investment onwhich Trump originally boasted he would spend up to 1bn.
Richard Painter, a former White House chief ethics adviser to George W Bush, said this extra investment was a perfect example of the clear conflicts of interest between Trumps newfound power as president and his familys business interests.
Hes using language which is ambiguous. It clearly illustrates that around the world, he will just simply expand around the various holdings and as they continue to expand, the conflicts of interest expand, Painter said.
Its like [the board game] Monopoly: if you have one house on Boardwalk, its not a new deal to go for three hotels on Boardwalk.
In a document issued by the Trump team later that day, the president-elects lawyers Morgan, Lewis & Bockius wrote that his new pledge prohibits without exception new foreign deals during the duration of President-Elect Trumps Presidency.
Trump and his legal adviser Sheri Dillon said control of his property, hotels and golfing empire which includes two golf resorts in Scotland and one in Ireland would pass to his sons Eric and Donald Jr, and Trump executive Allen Weisslberg, before his inauguration as president on Friday 20 January.
There is speculation that Eric Trump will fly to Scotland next week, as that transfer of power takes place.
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