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Donald Trump to keep his company in the family

Last Updated Jan 11, 2017 3:34 PM EST

President-elect Donald Trump will step down from the Trump Organization, but he refuses to divest his ownership, preferring to leave the company in his two sons’ hands.

Mr. Trump’s family business has cancelled 30 pending business deals and won’t enter into new international projects, such as licenses for new hotels that carry the Trump name, according to his lawyer, Sheri Dillon, who presented the new arrangement at a news conference Wednesday. The president-elect, she said, “should not be expected to destroy the company he built.”

Mr. Trump said he just turned down a $2 billion offer to build a hotel in Dubai. In all. cancelling the pending projects will cost the family millions, the lawyer said. 

Dillon said divesting all Mr. Trump’s holdings would not work because it would constitute a “fire sale,” where the Trump family would get low-ball amounts. A blind trust, where all the assets are administered by a third party (that is, not by a Trump family relative), also would be impractical she added. That arrangement doesn’t work for operating companies, such as those the Trump Organization oversees, Dillon said.  

Mr. Trump will receive no in-depth financial reports regarding his company detailing individual business lines, but only the overall profit and loss figures, the lawyer said. 

His holdings will be transferred into a trust overseen by his sons, Eric and Donald Jr., and chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who will make decisions without consulting the president. 

The president-elect’s daughter, Ivanka, will no longer be involved in the family business, as she is joining her husband, Jared Kushner, as he moves to Washington to serve as a White House aide

“When my father takes office as the 45th President of the United States of America, I will take a formal leave of absence from The Trump Organization and my eponymous apparel and accessories brand,” she said in a statement, noting that she would have no role in the apparel and accessories business.

Ivanka Trump said she is turning management of the clothing business to Abigail Klem, who according to her LinkedIn profile has been serving as its chief brand officer.

Ongoing Trump businesses will be reviewed by an internal ethics officer to make sure they are done without his involvement or knowledge. The company will channel foreign government payments to his hotels to the U.S. Treasury, Dillon.

  • Larry Light

    Larry Light is a veteran financial editor and reporter who has worked for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Money, AdviceIQ and Newsday.