Why do Trump’s foreign golf resorts lose millions of dollars each year?Experts say it could be incompetence, vanity, or something more sinister


Trump Golf Virginia 2020

According to the Financial Declaration, US President Donald Trump’s golf course loses millions of dollars each year. Tasoska Topodis / Getty Images

  • Donald Trump makes huge losses each year at his flagship foreign golf resort.

  • He previously claimed that they were actually “development deals” rather than golf resorts.

  • But experts and opponents believe that there may be other reasons for Trump to keep them.

  • See other articles on Insider’s business page..

Donald Trump golf resorts lose a lot of money.According to the New York Times bomb report published last year, he owns 15 courses around the world. Lost more than $ 315 million The last 20 years. An interesting question is why Trump continues to stick to so many deficit companies.

Much of Trump’s financial arrangement remains a mystery. This is because US listed companies can significantly avoid public oversight, Ongoing criminal investigations into banks and potential tax evasion may change that soon..

No one can be sure how much he is worth, no one can be sure why he is self-styled “King of Debt” Decides to Till Up to $ 400 Million His cash to his two Scottish golf resorts, and no one is totally confident about what his unpublished tax returns will be.

But because the UK has a registry of companies that require public accounts to be submitted each year, how much his two courses in Scotland are losing each year and how much debt they are accumulating. Can be investigated in detail (hint: it’s a lot)

So why does Trump and his sons, who were in business during their presidency, continue to run a course that loses a lot of money?

We talked to top experts, looked up financial data, looked back at the president’s own words on the matter, and tried to figure out why.

The insider contacted the Trump Organization for comment, but did not receive a reply at the time of publication.

Trump loss is “not normal”

Turnberry's parent company, Golf Recreation Scotland Limited, lost more than $ 2.3 million in 2019, or $ 3.25 million.

Companies House (UK)

First, let’s look at the numbers. Trump has two golf resorts in Scotland. He opened the first Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire in 2012 on land purchased six years ago. Since then, the course has been losing money every year.

The 2019 corporate accounting, which covered the period before COVID-19 caused havoc to many companies, shows: Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited, He owned the course and recorded a loss of $ 1.5 million annually. The balance sheet shows that the resort’s total debt is over $ 16 million.

The second course is Turnberry, the jewel of the crown of his global golf empire.He paid $ 60 million For the renowned resort of 2014, famous for Tom Watson’s victory over Jack Nicklaus at the 1977 British Open.

Later, Trump claimed to have spent another $ 150 million on the luxury refurbishment. Turnberry’s parent company, Golf Recreation Scotland, Recorded a loss of $ 3.25 million with revenue of $ 26 million in 2019 The creditor’s balance sheet has a debt of about $ 160 million show..

Such losses are not unprecedented in the industry. Larry Hirsch, president of golf real estate analysts who value and sell golf real estate, said it would be difficult to operate a golf resort in a profitable way.

“For the last 10 to 20 years, golf courses have been challenging,” Hirsh told Insider.

“It cost a lot to play and Trump wasn’t shy about pricing his assets. Indeed, golf has experienced a decline in participation over the last 15 or 20 years,” he said. Said.

But he added that losing money on a major golf course was “certainly not an idea,” Hirsch said. “I don’t think it’s normal.”

Trump’s golf course is “not really an investment in golf”

Trump Turnberry

Donald Trump said in 2016 interview with Reuters Those who saw the massive losses at his golf resort missed the point.

In fact, he said, his resort was “Not an investment in golf“But real estate is a” development transaction. “

“It’s pretty easy,” he said. “My golf holdings are actually investments in thousands or thousands of housing units and hotels. At some point, the company will do them. I hope I won’t because I’ll be president. But don’t rush to do it. “

Losses at Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited, which operates the Aberdeenshire course, exceeded $ 1.1 million in 2019, or $ 1.55 million.

Companies House (UK)

There is only one problem with these claims. Trump has not built a single residential property at a golf resort owned in Europe or the United States in the last decade. Reuters reported..

At his Aberdeenshire Resort, he built a hotel in 2008 and the Trump Organization saidWorld’s largest golf courseThe council said, “Economic benefits will outweigh the significant environmental impact of building work, but neither housing nor hotels have been realized.

In 2019, he secured approval for a rework plan to build 500 homes, but construction has not yet begun.

In Turnbury, Trump tried to secure permission to develop hundreds of homes on land adjacent to the property, but failed. He told Reuters he saidI have the right to build at least a thousand homes in Turnbury if I wish.“But Scottish planners had different ideas. The plan to develop 87 units on farmland adjacent to Turnbury was rejected by the municipality in 2019. Scottsman reported..

The ruling specifically states that development was rejected because it may have been rejected.Adversely“Turnberry’s position as an iconic resort-this suggests that Trump’s plans to build a home at a golf resort may be very unhealthy from a business perspective.

It leads us to the second theory: incompetence.

Is it a simple incompetence?

Trump Golf Ivanka

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Daniel Perry, a tax professor at NYU School of Law, said: I wrote about the tax return of the former president last year.

Playing cards Patched business records are well documented.. He showed himself a self-marketing genius, licensing resorts and luxury developments around the world, and ultimately driving him to the White House.But his business is We also filed for 6 corporate bankruptcies. And he counts Dozens of very expensive failures among his successful business ventures..

For decades His Atlantic City CasinoThere was Trump University, which was folded after building up billions of dollars in debt. $ 25 Million Settlement for Former Students In 2017, after the Attorney General of New York called it a “scam.” A short-lived airline called the Trump Shuttle..

Turnberry and Trumplinx accounts suggest that they may be two more examples of poorly run businesses. A Detailed analysis The results of Trump’s two courses by financial research consultancy Behind the Balance Sheet are more profitable than other established rivals in Scotland, such as Loch Lomond Golf Club and the world-famous golf resort Glen Eagles. Shows that it is low. In addition, capital expenditures have consistently outpaced revenue growth at both resorts. Overall, it’s hard to know which business will generate a positive return on Trump’s huge initial investment.

Are they stored for “suspicious” tax purposes?

Trump Golf Scotland

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According to Companies House accounts, Turnberry’s parent company, Golf Recreation Scotland, owes a staggering $ 160 million to a Donald Trump-managed New York-based trust. Golf Recreation Scotland, which manages Trump’s Aberdeenshire Resort, personally owes Trump over $ 40 million.

But their loans are rare. Interest-free, This is a rare arrangement because it negates the potential tax benefits of lending money between Trump-owned companies. Mother Jones reported..

Daniel Shabiro, a tax expert at New York University, said he was “a little suspicious” under US tax law.

“Under US tax law, you can’t get an interest-free loan between stakeholders,” he said.

“You will tend to guess market interest rates, or they say it’s really fair.

“Therefore, the idea is that if different tax authorities are engaged in the transaction, it must be a business-to-business transaction and must reflect reality.”

That said, Mr. Shabiro said it was not clear that there was any benefit to Mr. Trump’s method of setting up the loan.

“I don’t see any obvious tax benefits here,” he said. “There’s a pretty good guess that something is happening, whether it’s money laundering or gameplay with a lender, but I’m not sure exactly what that will be.”

It leads us to the last unanswered theory.

“Unexplained” funding for Trump’s golf course

Donald Trump Golf

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This year, a group of Scottish parliamentarians led by Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Green Party, became a hot topic all over the world. When they demanded “an unexplained order of wealth” from Donald Trump’s finances.. Their central question was simple: where did Donald Trump get the money to pay for his resort in the first place?

Scottish Parliamentarian Harvey Told home in February: “Purchasing in Scotland is part of a very long spending, and his spokesman put a huge amount of money around him, even though he was clearly turned down for credit. Claimed to be available for investment. “

The details are impressive: Trump, who was styling himself, said, “King of debtHe spent his career building a business with the money borrowed by others and was proud of it on the 2016 campaign trail.

In 2006, he suddenly continued to spend, buying over $ 400 million in cash over the next decade. The Washington Post reported.. The first purchase was his Balmidi real estate in 2006. The most expensive of all of them was the purchase of Turnberry in 2014, which was still in the red. He also used cash to buy a course in Doonbeg, Ireland that same year. So where did it come from?

Harvey hinted at the testimony of the US Congress at a private meeting in 2017. Controversial steel papers on the alleged link between Trump and Russia -Some of them are “Misleading“By a British judge.

Simpson told lawmakers that the company’s investigation was identified by the Trump Organization.Buying and selling patternsReal estate that “suggested money laundering”.

In the second half of his testimony, He said: “Because the Irish and Scotland courses are under the UK … we were able to get the financial statements.

“And they don’t show Russia’s involvement in their faces, but they do show the huge capital flowing into these projects from unknown sources, at least on paper. , Says it’s from the Trump organization, but it’s hundreds of millions of dollars. And these golf courses are just sinks. They don’t really make money. “

Trump’s son Eric said in Harvey’s claim, “Actually unfounded“And I called them” disgusting. “

The Scottish Government ultimately rejected these demands for unexplained wealth orders because the state’s lawyers, not politicians, instigated such investigations. Nonetheless, these questions about how Trump paid his golf resort and why they continue to lose so much money only grows.

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