Trump Pulls Out of $250 Million Tower Plan in Black Sea Resort
Monday, January 9Donald Trump’s company pulled out of a proposed $250-million tower project in the Georgian Black Sea resort town of Batumi, the latest effort by the U.S. president-elect to defuse charges that his global businesses will cause conflicts of interest once he enters the White House.
The Trump Organization and its local partner in Georgia, the Silk Road Group, said in a joint e-mailed statement that they’ve decided “to formally end the development of Trump Tower, Batumi.” The project, a 47-story residential condominium, was announced in 2012 by Trump and then-Georgian President MikheilSaakashvili. Silk Road said it will go ahead on its own with a luxury tower in the town, once dubbed the Monte Carlo of the Caucasus by Trump.
The organization announced last month it was ending real-estate projects in Brazil and Azerbaijan, in what Executive Vice President Alan Garten described as “housecleaning” ahead of Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Political opponents have said his business interests could prejudice U.S. foreign policy -- especially in the former Soviet Union, given Trump’s professed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The prospect of a U.S.-Russian thaw is of special concern to Georgia, a close American ally that still aspires to NATO membership. The country, at the crossroads of key energy routes to Europe, fought and lost a war with Russia in 2008 over breakaway provinces, and about a fifth of its territory remains under the control of pro-Russian forces.
The Trump Tower in Batumi was widely assumed to have been shelved when Saakashvili lost power in 2013 and was later stripped of his Georgian citizenship. But Giorgi Ramishvili, Silk Road’s founder, said a month ago that it was still on track.
Ramishvili, contacted by phone today, didn’t elaborate on why it’s been abandoned now, and also declined to comment on whether he’ll be attending Trump’s inauguration.