Last week we introduced you to the saga of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Fort Lauderdale. Buyers have filed lawsuits alleging they were misled to believe that Donald Trump was a developer of the building -- or, at the very least, that the tower would bear his name.
Three years ago, the Donald himself came down and hosted a star-studded party for buyers. Brochures featured Trump's bio and a letter signed by him, saying, "It is with great pleasure that I present my latest development, Trump International Hotel & Tower, Fort Lauderdale."
But now the Trump Organization is saying that the real-estate mogul was never a developer or owner of the project. He simply struck a deal to lend his name to the building and manage the hotel, and that deal is now looking shaky.
Here's the statement emailed to the Juice by Selma Langer, VP of marketing for the Trump Organization:
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Neither The Trump Organization, nor its affiliates, are the owners or developers of the property in Fort Lauderdale. As was disclosed to buyers in their purchase agreements, Trump Marks Fort Lauderdale LLC licensed the "Trump" name to the owner of the property, SB Hotel Associates, LLC, for purposes of identifying the property, subject to the terms of a license agreement, which may be terminated according to its terms...
Indeed, the purchase agreement does disclose Trump's limited involvement, albeit in legalese:
Buyer understands and agrees that Hotel Unit Owner intends... to retain Trump Florida Management LLC... as the initial Hotel Manager and to obtain a limited license agreement from Donald J. Trump to operate the hotel under the trade name 'Trump International Hotel & Tower Fort Lauderdale.' Buyer further understands and agrees that in the event that any agreement between the Hotel Unit Owner... and Trump... is terminated for any reason... all use of Trump's trade name and Trump's trademark... shall cease.
But with all those lovely, glossy brochures lying around with Trump's signature on them, why would anybody take the time to read the fine print?