It should come as no surprise that Donald Trump’s business career has led him into some shady shit. Last November, the news broke that Alexandre Nogueira, the Brazilian businessman who in 2007 helped facilitate funding for the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City, had secured investments related to the project — Trump’s first international hotel property — from, among others, a convicted Colombian money-launderer, suspected human trafficker from the Ukraine, and a Russian dude who once did five years in an Israeli prison for kidnapping somebody. Additionally, it was reported that Nogueira pocketed deposits on some units in the building, double-sold others, and is currently under investigation in Brazil for laundering money himself.
On Saturday, February 24, the Associated Press reported that executives from the Trump Organization, involved with the management of the building, are refusing to comply with a termination notice levied by the hotel’s owners’ association. Instead, according to the AP, “Trump’s managers retreated behind the glass walls of an office where they were seen carrying files to an area where the sounds of a shredding machine could be heard.”
The report also notes that:
Elsewhere in the building, the hotel owners’ team and its allies were barred by Trump Hotel staff from entering the room containing the building’s closed-circuit TV system as well as key computer servers for the hotel and apartments that share the property. In response, they shut off power to the room — temporarily bringing down phone lines and internet connections within the building.
As of Friday night, “lawyers, notaries, and rival security personnel” had begun negotiations on behalf of the Trump Organization and the ownership group that they refuse to let fire them.
On Monday, February 26, the Washington Postreported that, “Panama’s federal prosecutors said they had opened an investigation into the Trump Organization” following a complaint by Orestes Fintiklis, the hotel’s majority owner who assumed control over the hotel in 2017. At one point in the standoff, Fintiklis grew so exasperated by the Trump Organization’s actions that he “played a tune on the hotel’s lobby piano as an apparent show of defiance.”
In a statement Monday, Trump Hotels responded in a statement alleging that Fintiklis had violated a condition of his purchase of a majority stake in the hotel which stipulated that he “would not in any way attempt to interfere with Trump’s management of the Hotel or take any other steps to terminate its management agreement.” The statement accused Fintiklis of “resort[ing] to thug-like, mob style tactics” to kick the Trump team out.
Update: This story has been updated to reflect the investigation brought on by the Fintiklis complaint, the Trump Organization’s response, as well as the piano playing.