Panama hotel evicts Trump executives, removes his name over standoff for control


He moved to pry management of the hotel from the hands of the Trump Organization, which does not own the property but has a contract to manage it until 2031.

The Monday showdown at the hotel began with the arrival of the majority owner, Orestes Fintiklis, 39, followed by a contingent of court officials and police officers - and a Panamanian court order authorizing a change of administration.

Fintiklis, who wants to drop the Trump name from the building, argued in court documents that the Trump Organization's mismanagement caused occupancy levels to drop while expenses rose. "And today this dispute has been settled by the judges and the authorities of this country".

As part of the deal, the administration of the hotel remained in the hands of the Trump Organisation, run by the president's two sons since he took office a year ago.

For weeks the actual owner of the Trump International Hotel in Panama has been trying to evict the Trump-installed management team, who barricaded themselves inside, until Monday.

A worker cleans the site where the Trump name was removed from the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City, Panama March 5, 2018.

The standoff between Miami-based Fintiklis and the management team at the hotel lasted over a week. More than a half dozen of Trump's security officials were seen leaving the hotel.

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"The acts by ownership over the last few days. have been pure thuggery", Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten said last week. The hotel's power had also been turned off briefly, with the Trump Organization appearing to pin the blame on Fintiklis.

And as the final humiliation, Fintiklis ordered Trump's name to be ripped off from the outside of the hotel - check out ABC News' video footage of Trump's name being torn down below.

The most recent and intense feuding began February 22, when the Miami-based Fintiklis came to the property with termination notices for Trump's management team.

"Today, Panama has made us proud".

However, it remains unclear exactly what kind of victory Fintiklis had claimed. With a 2017 report from Global Witness noting that the building had laundered "proceeds from Colombian cartels' narcotics trafficking", making Trump "one of the beneficiaries" of such laundering, questions continue to pile about what the president and his family knew about the money laundering swamping the property.

In court filings, the Trump Organization called Fintiklis' effort a "design to wrongfully seize control over the hotel property".

Fintiklis then sat down at the hotel's piano in its lobby and played a song that included the lyrics, "Fascism will not prevail".