In Panama, his condominium owners are trying to fire him. In Canada and Turkey, his business partners want to cut him loose. In Scotland and Ireland he claims to be making millions but so far is losing money.
Donald Trump says his organization is in talks on more than 100 deals, 85 percent of them outside the U.S., and that if elected president he will bring to international relations the savvy he has demonstrated as a global deal maker.
But an examination of his operations abroad reveals that, while he has made many millions selling his name, he has chosen a number of inexperienced -- even questionable -- partners, sometimes infuriated buyers and associates and moved late into saturated markets, producing less income than advertised.
A number of naming-rights deals over the past decade have involved investors paying him multimillion-dollar sums, sometimes with a percentage of condo sales or a management fee to run hotel operations. In some places, such as the Philippines, there are strong early sales with projects due to be completed in the next few years. But others have gone far less well, descending into legal conflicts amid claims of broken promises and empty apartments.
Trump, the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination, disputes the claims and dismisses them as outliers. "I’ve done very well internationally," he said last week in a telephone interview from South Carolina, where he won the primary. "I don’t think there is a hotter brand in the world than the Trump brand."
After he called for barring Muslims from entering the U.S. and spoke disparagingly of Mexicans, a new problem arose: some people demanded that his name be removed from buildings. In Istanbul, Turkish billionaire and media mogul Aydin Dogan is trying to break a contract to brand two towers with Trump’s name, according to a person familiar with the company. In campaign records filed last July that detail income for the previous 18 months, Trump says he was paid as much as $5 million for the deal.
Trump acknowledged the difficulties from his campaign comments.
"That’s one where running for president is a complicating factor," the billionaire said. “I have a problem because I have to do what I have to do."
Executives concluded even before his campaign comments that the Trump name had not provided the premium they expected when they opened the $300 million complex in 2012, according to the person familiar with the company.