/Losses deepen at Trump’s Scotland properties, new financial reports show

Losses deepen at Trump’s Scotland properties, new financial reports show



The Trump Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

October 8 at 1:21 PM

The Trump Organization’s two Scottish golf courses lost $14.3 million in 2018, extending a multiyear string of losses that have intensified since Donald Trump took office, according to annual financial reports released this month. 

The results add further pressure to two of President Trump’s key overseas investments at a time when the company faces backlashes on many fronts, including customers who shun the president’s family business for political reasons and golf course neighbors upset by the company’s plans to build hundreds of new homes on bucolic farmland. 

The losses at the two Scotland courses — the Turnberry resort along the southwestern coast and another seaside course near Aberdeen in the northeast — were detailed in documents filed by the Trump Organization with the British government and posted online in recent days. 

These two courses are among 14 properties Trump bought without loans between 2006 and 2014, an all-cash spending binge that topped $400 million.

Turnberry is the larger and more famous of the two courses. Trump bought the historic links course — the site of four British Opens — in 2014 and has spent more than $200 million to buy and renovate the property and sustain its losses. 

In its filing, the Trump Organization touted Turnberry’s “tremendous success” in the company’s fifth full year operating the resort. The company said revenue in 2018, $22.5 million, was higher than any year in the course’s history. But the company also lost $13 million for the year, more than tripling its 2017 loss of $4.1 million. Turnberry has not turned a profit since Trump has owned it. 

Many people who live around the resort are happy with how the Trump Organization has pumped money into the property to rebuild the hilltop hotel, with its vast ballroom full of chandeliers, and renovate the seaside lighthouse that is open to the public.

“It’s never been better,” said Sonya Brown, who owns the nearby Wildings Hotel and Restaurant and regularly attends parties and events at Turnberry. “He’s revamped everything.” 

But the Trump Organization has also faced criticism at Turnberry for mixing politics and business. U.S. Air Force crews on layovers at the nearby Glasgow Prestwick Airport have spent nearly $200,000 at the hotel over the past two years. Some residents also oppose the company’s plans to expand into residential development on nearby farmland. 

Trump’s other Scottish course, along the blustery northeastern coast near Aberdeen, also struggled, losing $1.3 million in 2018, its seventh consecutive year of losses, according to financial disclosures. In 2017, the Aberdeen course lost $1.5 million.

In Aberdeen, the Trump Organization is now trying to bolster its golf revenue by becoming a residential home builder. Last month, the company won approval from a local council to build up to 550 houses and a second golf course in the area. 

That proposal has prompted widespread opposition around Balmedie, the nearest village. More than 3,000 people wrote to the Aberdeenshire Council to criticize the plan. In the past, the company had pledged to build a large hotel on the site. That has not been built, and some doubt the Trump Organization will follow through on its home-building ambitions. 

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“If it goes ahead, and that is a very big if, it will destroy the life of Balmedie as a village,” said David Milne, who lives near the Aberdeen course and has long opposed the Trump Organization.

Since Trump became president, his company has lost hotels in Panama, Toronto and New York’s SoHo neighborhood, as the building owners severed ties with the brand.