Workers at the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel in Panama City pried off President Trump’s name from the building Monday in an apparent sign the Trump Organization lost a 12-day standoff over control of the property.
The days-long stalemate for the luxury hotel came after a Panamanian judicial official and police officers backed the hotel's majority owner, Orestes Fintiklis, over the Trump-affiliated management.
“Today, this dispute has been settled by the judges and the authorities of this country,” Fintiklis, a Miami-based private equity investor and head of the hotel owners' association, said, according to Reuters. “Today, Panama has made us proud.”
Fintiklis added the ordeal “was purely a commercial dispute that just spun out of control.”
The most recent feuding between the two parties began on Feb. 22 when Fintiklis came to the hotel to serve termination notices for Trump’s management team, but Trump hotel officials turned the businessman away.
Fintiklis later that day filed a legal complaint alleging he and others witnessed Trump’s management team destroying hotel documents, which Trump officials have denied.
For more than a week, Trump's hotel business staved off efforts by Fintiklis and his allies to gain control of the property, with rival security teams skirmishing over physical control of key infrastructure. That included the administrative offices and the hotel's closed caption security system, which was housed in the condo association within the same building.
Grainy footage of the encounter obtained by The Associated Press shows Trump security officials shoving a representative of the condo owners' association and a brawl in a stairwell between opposing security guards.
Initially invited by Trump's managers, the Panamanian police repeatedly visited the hotel to keep the peace. At least one Trump security official was taken off the property in handcuffs, though a police source told the AP he was not arrested.
Trump officials denounced Fintiklis' efforts to take control of the property as "thug-like, mob-style tactics" and pledged in a February statement they would not give in to "bullying and the use of force." Until litigation and arbitration involving the property was concluded, Trump officials said, they had no intention of leaving.
However, Trump officials did leave on Monday on their own accord, leaving the hotel’s administrative office vacant. Within two hours, a man using a hammer and a crowbar began stripping Trump signage from a stone plaque in front of the building.
The Associated Pres contributed to this report.