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While President Trump is cruising towards a major win with taxes, the businesses he founded are facing challenges. Sales at some of the president's properties are suffering. Prices are down. And it appears many customers are staying away. But it's not all bad news for The Trump Organization. Hotels and golf courses Trump regularly visits are doing a roaring business. Here's NPR's Jackie Northam.
JACKIE NORTHAM, BYLINE: Just as the president was heading off to Mar-a-Lago for the Thanksgiving weekend, his company, The Trump Organization, announced it was severing ties with one of its New York properties. The Trump SoHo Hotel had been plagued for several months by bad press and low occupancy rates. Its premier restaurant on the ground floor closed. Not far from the hotel in SoHo, another Trump building is also struggling.
TIM O'BRIEN: Recently, there's been a drop-off in the resale prices of Trump Tower condos.
NORTHAM: Thats Tim O'Brien, the executive editor of Bloomberg View and the author of "TrumpNation: The Art Of Being The Donald." He says what's interesting is that real estate, generally, is doing well in New York City. So it's unclear why the prices in Trump Tower have dropped so significantly.
O'BRIEN: Some people have attributed it to the fact that people don't want to be in the same building with the Trumps now for a variety of reasons, not necessarily even a political - it's just a pain in the neck to be in a building that the Secret Service and the New York Police Department are routinely locking down.
NORTHAM: Revenues from Trump's golf courses near Los Angeles and the Bronx have dropped. His two courses in Scotland lost close to $25 million in 2016. Many charities have pulled lucrative events from some of his hotels. The Trump Organization is also having trouble launching a new line of four-star star hotels called Scion. Philip Kingston, a Democratic representative of the Dallas City Council, says plans to put a Scion in his city met a lot of opposition. He recalls his first reaction to the news.
PHILIP KINGSTON: Strongly negative.
NORTHAM: Why is that?
KINGSTON: Trump is just a bad brand for Dallas. I don't want to see Dallas associated with that.
NORTHAM: Kingston says there was a protest at the proposed Scion site and an online opposition campaign. In the end, the project has not got off the ground. The Trump Organization did not respond to inquiries about this story. It's hard to draw a straight line between the business setbacks and the president's policies or comments. Trump hasn't released his tax returns, but his mandatory financial disclosure reports offer a snapshot into his business.
AUSTIN EVERS: Some of his businesses around the world are not doing particularly well. But the ones he frequents as president are doing better than ever.
NORTHAM: Austin Evans (ph) is with the accountability organization American Oversight. He says golf courses where Trump plays regularly at New Jersey and in Virginia are doing well.
EVERS: And you see that at The Trump International Hotel, which got to raise rates in 2017 and went from predicting that it would run a loss to turning a profit. And you also see increased profits at Mar-a-Lago, which the president has rebranded as the winter White House.
NORTHAM: Trump's hotel in D.C. is a few blocks from the White House. Bloomberg's O'Brien says the president is known to dine there.
O'BRIEN: We know that lobbyists, diplomats and members of the Trump administration frequent that hotel not simply because it has comfortable rooms and good food. They are seeking access. And Trump and his family profit from the fact that he's president, and they have a hotel in town, and they're making good money off that.
NORTHAM: And those profits, O'Brien says, may make up for the ones lost at his other properties. Jackie Northam, NPR News.
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