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INITIATION FEE

As Trump settles into the presidency, will the Trump brand cash in?

Reuters/David Becker
Upside potential?
By Leslie Josephs
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Donald Trump appears to be warming to the White House. The kitchen has been stocked with the new US president’s favorite snacks, like potato chips, and he even finds the telephones “beautiful,” according to the New York Times.

But the Trump business brand may be faring even better.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private resort in Palm Beach, Florida, has doubled its initiation fee from last year to $200,000, bringing it back to the price before the US recession in 2008, an administrative assistant said, adding that membership is nearing the 500-member cap. The near century-old golf and beach club, which “sits royally amidst 20 valuable acres of manicured lawns,” was meant by its creator, cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, to become the winter White House when she bequeathed it to the US in 1973, but it took Trump to make it so.

Cocktail prices have already climbed at the new Trump International Hotel in Washington DC down the street from the White House and Trump Hotels is optimistic it can expand to more cities. “There are 26 major metropolitan areas in the U.S., and we’re in five,” Eric Danziger, CEO of Trump Hotels told a lodging conference in Los Angeles this week, Bloomberg reported. “I don’t see any reason that we couldn’t be in all of them eventually.”

President Trump himself continues to be dogged by allegations of conflicts of interest that have already sparked one lawsuit during his first week in office. Instead of divesting of his businesses as critics have suggested, Trump has given up leadership of the Trump Organization, putting his older sons in charge.

The company has planned a new line of hotels without the family name, called Scion, which it plans to build in smaller cities.

Given the apparent rise in value of the Trump name, perhaps his sons will rethink that idea.

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