New stage set for Trump legal battle

Trump Panama Hotel Management has filed an appeal of the decision that removed it from the management of Trump Ocean Club Hotel and removed the U.S. president’s name from the building.

The appeal was filed before Second Civil Circuit Judge Miriam Yadira Cheng. It said there was “possible procedural fraud and abuse of law” in the decision.

This is a new episode in the fierce legal battle between Donald Trump’s company and the new owner of the building, businessman Orestes Fintiklis and his company Ithaca Capital.

On March 5, after an action filed by Fintiklis, the second civil circuit court stripped Trump Panama Hotel Management of its role as the hotel administrator. That same day, a worker removed the word “Trump” from the sign next to the hotel entrance, and on March 9 it was announced that the complex would be renamed The Bahia Grand Panama.

In the first days after the decision, the hotel did not accept reservations, but it is now being marketed under the new brand and is again taking reservations.

In its appeal, Trump Panama Hotel Management claimed “there have been serious abusive actions or omissions by the judicial administrator that ostensibly violates the legal system”.

The company’s lawyers say Judge José Ángel Hidrogo improperly allowed the hotel to change its name.

“These actions or omissions violate the powers and duties of the judicial administrator established in the law that require him to follow the current administration system,” the Trump company said.

It also points out that the judge failed to honor the hotel management contract signed in 2011 by Trump Panama Hotel Management and Newland International Properties – the original owner of the complex – which ran through 2031.

Last year, Newland International Properties sold 202 rooms and 13 shopping areas to Fintiklis, who, along with other owners, blamed Trump Hotels for weak performance and sought their way out.

In October 2017, the company led by Fintiklis initiated an international arbitration process requesting the declaration of termination of the contract, a process that Trump Panama Hotel Management claims as the proper avenue to resolve the dispute.

The Trump company also states the decision is based on laws that were repealed in 2016.

It seeks to remove Hidrogo from the case. The judge declined to comment about the appeal.


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