The Trump Organization has just come under scrutiny for being revealed to have recently sought to make a quick buck via partnering with notoriously corrupt political leaders from the other side of the world.
The Trump Organization came onboard a luxury hotel project in Azerbaijan in 2012. This project had already been underway for at least 4 years, according to the New Yorker.
The project was strange and rife with potential inroads for corruption from the outset. A spokesperson for the Trump Organization commented that the Trumps supposedly only came on board in the capacity of licensing Trump’s name to be used for the building, but that’s hardly the end of the story.
For one, the hotel, although work was started on it almost a decade ago, is still not open to the public.
Additionally, it’s not as though it’s in an area of town surrounded by luxury hotels that are, in fact, open to the public. Rather, the building that’s supposed to be Trump Tower Baku is situated in an industrial region of the city, a significant distance away from the actual luxury hotel packed coastal area. Thus, it never had much of a market appeal from the outset, seeing as people who wanted to stay in a luxury hotel in Baku could just book a room a little ways away in a much nicer part of town.
The problems here are at least two-fold.
One, in going in on this luxury hotel project, the Trumps partnered with the corrupt Transportation Minister of Azerbaijan named Ziya Mammadov.
As the New Yorker reports:
‘The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, passed in 1977, forbade American companies from participating in a scheme to reward a foreign government official in exchange for material benefit or preferential treatment.’
Mammadov is a major investor in the company behind the Baku luxury hotel project; it’s Ziya’s son and brother who made the deal directly with the Trump Organization.
Two, the Trump Organization could prove that they didn’t do anything wrong, but, for the umpteenth time, they are refusing to release their records relating to the deal. This refusal is just like President Trump’s longtime refusal to release his tax returns, and it leaves us with the same questions.
Is he hiding something? What’s he hiding? Is the compulsion to hide this information based out of shame over the company’s finances being shabbier then Trump would have you believe, or is it based out of something more sinister?
Any answers to these questions remain lost unless the Trump Organization or Trump personally releases his financial information in a systematic, complete manner, but that’s not particularly likely to happen.
The reasons that Trump went in on this project are clear, seeing as he’s reportedly received some 5 million dollars for licensing his name to the hotel although, again, it’s not open to the public.
What’s not immediately clear, however, is whether or not or in what capacity members of the Trump Organization were involved with the almost inevitably corrupt financial dealings of the family behind the hotel project, the Mammadovs.
And there’s something else, too.
In December 2016, the Trump Organization severed all ties with the Baku project, perhaps dooming it.
Did they perhaps want to simply be sure that whatever they’d done never caught up to them?
One final note: this construction project devastated the lives of a number of ordinary citizens of Azerbaijan when it took place.
Read what the New Yorker has to say about this:
‘Much of the land occupied by the Trump Tower Baku complex was once packed with houses. In 2011, residents received letters from the local government authority informing them that their homes were to be demolished to make way for a project of crucial government significance.’
You can read more about it at this link.
Featured Image via SAUL LOEB/ AFP/ Getty Images.