The Real Deal Miami

Stalled Caucasus Trump Tower is back on track: developer

Possible reversal of fortune raises conflict of interest questions
December 10, 2016 09:15AM

From left: Donald Trump Batumi, Georgia and Mikhail Saakashvili

From left: Donald Trump Batumi, Georgia and Mikhail Saakashvili

A long-stalled $250 million Trump Tower project in the Caucasus republic of Georgia is back on track following Trump’s election victory, according to its local developer.

“The project will go ahead, talks are on,” Giorgi Ramishvili told Georgian TV. “As soon as the transition period is over some time in January, we can talk.”

Trump [TRDataCustom] and Ramishvili announced a licensing deal for the tower back in 2012, and Trump even talked to Georgia’s president at the time, Mikhail Saakashvili, about the project. But after Saakashvili’s party lost parliamentary elections that year, the project appeared doomed.

“Trump did not invest in Georgia,” the election’s winner Bidzina Ivanishvili said in 2012.

“It was kind of like a trick. They gave him money and they both played along, Saakashvili and Trump. And, as you know, Saakashvili was the master of lies. I don’t know what project this is, I’ve never been seriously interested. We won’t do anything based on such fairy tales.”

That Trump’s victory appears to breathe new life into the project is adding to worries that the president-elect’s new political clout could lead to conflicts of interest. The Real Deal recently broke down the risk of crony capitalism under a Trump administration.

The 47-story tower is planned for the Black Sea Town of Batumi. [Bloomberg]Konrad Putzier