Russian money built it and now bankrupt after only 4 years.
Trump has vowed to run the country the way he runs his businesses, and Trump Toronto is yet another reminder that his businesses do not always run smoothly. Even before the bankruptcy, the Trump Organization was already mired in litigation over management issues with the project’s owner, Talon International—led by Alex Shnaider, the steel magnate who is perhaps better known for buying a Formula One racing team and hiring Justin Bieber to sing at his daughter’s Sweet Sixteen. The project also faced lawsuits filed by middle-class investors who claim they were suckered into buying time-share-style units in the hotel with wildly overstated projections of Trump Toronto’s performance. Now it’s in receivership, which will produce new ownership and, quite possibly, a new brand.
Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller noted that the company still has a long-term deal to manage the Toronto property, no matter who controls it after the auction. “This has been a record year for the hotel, and we look forward to its continued success,” Miller said. “Guests can expect to receive the same superior level of service and quality that is synonymous with our brand around the world.”
But it’s not clear that Trump Toronto will keep its name, much less its management team. Toronto is one of the world’s most multicultural cities, and Trump’s run for the presidency, especially his provocations against immigrants and Muslims, have made his hotel a target for protests. And one insider familiar with the bankruptcy proceedings said that local rivals in the luxury condo and hotel market, notably the Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton, have dramatically outcompeted the Trump property. Court documents show that even though investors in the hotel units were told the “worst case scenario” for occupancy rates would be 55%, they’ve ranged between 15% and 45%. The average room rate, despite the snazzy crystal sconces and in-mirror bathroom TVs and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Ontario, has been nearly $100 below the initial projections.