Trump Organization to launch hotel chain

Carolyn Kaster  AP File

Executives also said they plan to launch a new line of hotels called American Idea, meant to compete with chains like Hampton Inn HLT, -1.84% and Holiday Inn Express IHG, +0.19%.

Donald Jr. and Eric Trump had met with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents a day before Comey's firing in NY to discuss an attempted cyber attack on their company, the Trump Organization.

In January, President Trump placed his eldest sons, Eric (R) and Donald Trump Jr.

The first Scion location will also be in MS, in the city of Cleveland. The hotel - also a Chawla property - will be named Scion at West End and will have about 100 rooms, suites and extended-stay accommodations; a spa and fitness center; an event hall; and two full-service restaurants, Trump Hotels said in the statement.

The president's refusal to divest, over the objections of the government's top ethics official, has raised questions about whether he could profit from his position in the White House - issues that are likely to dominate as his company pushes an aggressive expansion.

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"I said, 'That's brilliant, '" Eric Danziger, who runs the Trump Organization's hotels division, told the Times.

The Chawla brothers plan to convert three MS hotels now under other franchisee names to the American Idea brand, one each in Cleveland, Clarksdale and Greenville. The three properties, once given a new name and American decor, could be open within seven to eight months, said Dinesh Chawla, CEO of the Cleveland, Mississippi-based company.

President Donald Trump has been criticized for raising membership fees at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, boasting of his new Washington hotel that has become a favorite spot for foreign diplomats, and benefiting from trademark approvals from China for possible future business there.

For the Scion hotel brand, Mr. Danziger said the company has an additional 39 signed letters of intent, which are nonbinding, early-stage deals. The Trump Organization will get management and franchise fees for the new ventures. He said he expects to announce more deals for both brands in the near future. The properties will aim to reflect small town values and honor the local heritage, noted Danziger in a speech to guests.

Before Trump took the oath of office, he announced a series of steps to help address concerns that his sprawling business holdings could lead to conflicts. "We are honoured, and we look forward to a very successful relationship".

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