In a case that echoes claims that Trump cashed in on a fund meant for small businesses after 9/11 (a claim Politifact rates as “half true”), it appears Trump has taken advantage of a tax bailout for small businesses in Scotland, collecting around $141,000, by way of a property tax cut, for his luxury golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland.
The Guardian reports:
Donald Trump’s luxury hotel in Turnberry has been handed a £110,000 tax rebate by Scottish ministers as part of an emergency bailout intended to help struggling small businesses.
Figures reveal that the Trump Turnberry hotel on the coast of Ayrshire, where suites cost up to £815 a night, had its property tax cut by £109,530 as a result of the measure. That led to a 13.5% reduction in its normal annual business rates bill of £811,850.
The Scottish rebate was announced in February after hoteliers and restaurant owners complained about a rise in property taxes of up to 400% that came into force this year. The complaints were most intense in north-east Scotland, a region hit hard by a slump in oil prices.
Trump has said that the business was doing well, so it’s unlikely the tax rebate was necessary.
The resort’s general manager, Ralph Porciani, told the Guardian in January he was expecting bumper profits for 2016 and 2017, with revenues likely to be up to 20% higher than the £16m Turnberry earned in 2007. Turnberry increased its golf club membership fees by 38%, to £2,500 a year, after its courses were upgraded.
“From the business we have on the books so far, the pace is telling me the Trump Turnberry will have its best year of revenue in 100 years,” Porciani said. Previously the resort had been closed for refurbishment.
Trump’s other hotel, the Trump International Golf Course Scotland failed to benefit from the boondoggle, since it is listed as a golf course, and not part of the hospitalities business, which the rebate was designed to benefit.
Martin Ford, the councillor whose casting vote in 2008 against Trump’s original golf resort plans in Aberdeenshire forced ministers to intervene to force them through, said he believed the Turnberry resort should not have benefited.
“All policy changes have unintended consequences, and this is a bad one for the Scottish government,” Ford said. “Absolutely no one would think that the best use of nearly £110,000 of public money is to use it to enhance Mr. Trump’s bank balance. He clearly doesn’t need it.”
The latest accounts for Golf Recreation Scotland, Trump’s holding company that owns the Turnberry resort, show the Trump Organization paid no other business taxes for Turnberry. It employs about 340 people but its accounting losses meant it did not have to pay the £1.7m in corporation tax for which it was liable. Trump remains the sole shareholder for Turnberry, although day to day management has passed to his son Donald Trump Jr and legal adviser Allen Weisselberg.
It’s a nice racket, if you can swing it.
This feels like a good place to let people see a clip of the documentary, “You’ve Been Trumped.”