Things that make you go hmmm
The Trump Organization apparently appealed directly to the Panamanian president during a recent dispute over control of its 70-story property in Panama City, The Associated Press reports, an event that further blurs the line between Donald Trump's role as president of the United States and his status as owner of his eponymous company. The request from the Trump Organization specifically asked Panama's president to "ignore that country's separation of powers and intervene in its judicial process," AP writes.
The request stems from a dispute over control of Panama City's Trump International Hotel, which is owned by Miami-based Cypriot businessman Orestes Fintiklis. Fintiklis argued that the Trump Organization had poorly managed the hotel and that the undesirability of the brand had hurt revenue, while the Trump Organization maintained that its contract was still valid. Judicial officials in Panama sided with Fintiklis and later an arbitrator in the U.S. ruled that while the Trump Organization should not have been evicted during arbitration, the company would not have its management reinstated. The hotel has since been renamed, and the "TRUMP" name pried off with a crowbar.
In a letter to Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, the Trump Organization "URGENTLY" requested judicial help and cited a treaty between the U.S. and Panama, the Bilateral Investment Treaty. In doing so, AP writes that the letter implies the Panamanian government, "not the new management team, could be blamed for wrongdoing."
Panama's foreign secretary, Isabel de Saint Malo, explained: "It is a letter that urges Panama's executive branch to interfere in an issue clearly of the judicial branch. I don't believe the executive branch has a position to take while the issue is in the judicial process." Read the full report at The Associated Press.