Donald Trump’s namesake company the Trump Organization is “close to an agreement” with a developer for a project in the Dominican Republic, despite a promise by Trump’s attorney that, as president, he would halt international projects.
As Fast Company reports, the Trump Organization is nearing a contract on “Trump at Cap Cana,” a proposed Trump-branded luxury resort near Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
As the Washington Post reports, the company had sidelined the project after the financial crisis in 2008. But the president’s youngest son, Eric Trump, visited Cap Cana early last year, igniting speculation the Trump Organization has revived plans to develop in the Dominican Republic—and renewing concerns about potential ethics violations.
At a press conference weeks before Eric Trump’s trip to the Dominican Republic, Trump lawyer Sheri Dillon of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius pledged, “No new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of President Trump’s presidency.”
Asked about the discrepancy, Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten told Fast Company, “Trump at Cap Cana is a phased project to be developed over time.”
Last month, Cap Cana Group—Trump’s developer in the Dominican Republic—won permits to build 17 towers on the island, which would “dramatically increase the long-standing height restrictions of buildings on the coast,” Fast Company reports.
Former George W. Bush ethics lawyer Richard Painter, an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, described the Trump Organization’s deal as “one more example of a foreign entanglement for the Trump business empire that creates conflicts of interest.”
After winning the 2016 presidential election, Trump promised to leave his “great business in total.” But while he formally “resigned” from his role in the company, he refused to divest from the Trump Organization, instead turning control of his companies over to Eric and Donald Trump Jr.
In an interview with Forbes last year, Eric Trump said “there is kind of a clear separation of church and state that we maintain,” insisting he and Trump Jr. don’t discuss business with the father and Trump, in turn, does not discuss government with them.
According to Forbes, “less than two minutes” after that claim, Eric Trump concede he provides financial documents tor Trump “ on the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that, but you know, that’s about it.”
“My father and I are very close,” Eric Trump told Forbes. “I talk to him a lot. We’re pretty inseparable.”