Attention Turns To Security At Trump-Branded Global Properties
“I've had conversations with local officials about it and so far their biggest new concern about the election is drunken expats trying to deface Trump signs.”
Some Trump-branded hotels and luxury apartments around the world boosted security measures during and after the US election cycle, according to staff at international properties connected to the president-elect.
“We have taken additional precautionary measures and people are aware,” said Jitesh Talesara, a sales manager with Panchshil Realty, the developer behind Trump Towers in Pune, India. Talesara said the luxury apartment project has received more inquiries following Donald Trump's win.
"There are always going to be two sets of people — for Trump and against Trump. There are also people in India who are for and against him,” he told BuzzFeed News.
Talesara said he believed security at the hotel has been solid, so staff are not concerned about things like terrorist attacks. “Any Tom, Dick, and Harry cannot walk onto the property,” he said, citing the property’s 24/7 security system.
New York currently spends more than a million dollars a day to protect the president-elect and his family, according to city officials. Security has been increased at Trump's residence there, where the Secret Service is reportedly considering leasing space. In that case, the government could end up paying Trump's company millions of dollars in rent, though an expert on the Secret Service told CNN it might still save the government money compared with the price of hotel rooms.
Although it is not new for the US government to incur costs, including space rental, to protect presidents and their families, the scale of Trump's global real estate interests has the potential to make things more complicated than usual. It is unclear what additional measures may be taken to protect Trump-linked properties around the world and who would fund them.
According to a CEO for a Dubai-based security firm, discussions with UAE security officials about increased protection for Trump-affiliated properties, such as the Trump International Golf Club, have taken a “wait and see approach” after the election.
“There's always been a concern about things like Trump properties here being a target, so I'm not sure the election is an outlier, at least right now," said the CEO, who does not have contracts with Trump's projects but is close to the security establishment in the UAE, and requested anonymity to protect relationships with local clients. “I've had conversations with local officials about it and so far their biggest new concern about the election is drunken expats trying to deface Trump signs."
Some Trump-branded properties are owned by his companies, while others bear his name under licensing agreements and are developed and owned by local partners. The president-elect has drawn criticism for potential conflicts of interest in his transition from business mogul to head of state.
A spokesperson for Istanbul's Trump Towers, a high-end shopping and residential complex using the president-elect's name under a licensing deal, said managers there have yet to bolster security or request additional official support in the wake of the election. "We always keep an eye on social media to detect possible threats," said the spokesperson, who asked that their name not be used. "But for now, there is no problem."
A spokesperson for Trump Turnberry, a luxury resort in Scotland, declined to comment beyond telling BuzzFeed News “the welfare and security of our guests has always been a top priority and will remain so.”
Eduardo, a front desk employee at the still under-construction Trump Hotel Rio de Janeiro, told BuzzFeed News he hadn't noticed anything unusual recently in terms of security, noting most hotels in the area tend to display strong security measures. The Rio project is currently under investigation by a Brazilian prosecutor over investments made in the development by state pension funds.
Elizabeth Rico, who works at the front desk at Trump International Hotel and Tower in Panama, said there has been an increase in reservations and that sales at the gift shop have gone up. "When elections started, security was reinforced,” she told BuzzFeed News. "Some guests were throwing venomous comments around, saying that they didn't have a choice in staying here, and that their companies had sent them."
Rico said it has also become quite common for people to expect free service. "The day he won the election, a woman arrived at 4 in the morning with four little girls, demanding a free room, balloons, a party, and breakfast," she said.
Alexandre Aragão, Borzou Daragahi, Mitch Prothero, Megha Rajagopalan, Jamie Ross, and Karla Zabludovsky contributed reporting.