Former Trump hotel in Panama City rebranded as JW Marriott
PANAMA CITY (AP) — A luxury hotel and condominium tower in Panama City that used to bear the Trump name was formally rebranded Tuesday as the JW Marriott after a bitter dispute over control that ended with the U.S. president’s family company evicted.
The 70-story, seaside, sail-shaped building is now operated under the brand of U.S. hotelier Marriott International, which took over management.
Owners and administrators unveiled the new name on a granite wall at the entrance where the Trump name was removed in March when, after a hotly contested legal fight, majority investor Orestes Fintiklis was able to oust Trump managers.
“Today is a really exciting day,” said Fintiklis, a Cypriot based in Miami, making no mention of the dispute Tuesday. “We are thrilled that the administration of this iconic hotel will be taken on by JW Marriott.”
The struggle over the hotel began late last year when Fintiklis, who had acquired a majority of condominiums and was supported by residents, sought to fire Trump’s company, citing damage to the brand and mismanagement. The Trump Organization fought the termination and refused to hand over the property.
The company also appealed to Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela to intervene, even invoking a treaty between the two countries, raising ethical concerns over possible mingling of Trump’s business and government interests.
The appeal was apparently unsuccessful: An arbitrator declined to reinstate the Trump management team.
The high-rise with 369 hotel rooms plus restaurants and casinos was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by Trump in July 2011, four years before he launched his White House bid.
After the Trump name was taken down in March, the building was temporarily renamed the Bahia Grand Panama prior to Marriott’s involvement.