Hope Hicks, Donald Trump's communications director, clarified Donald Trump's relationship with the Hawaii hotel bearing his name. "He licenses his name for millions of dollars, meaning he has no downside but a lot of upside. There's no risk for him, he makes a lot of money doing that," she told CBS News. "And he also has a management contract with the owner, so he's the operator of the hotel. And it's operated by Trump Hotel Collections, meaning that when an employee gets a paycheck, [it's from] Trump Hotel Collections. He manages the property. He employs the people that work there."
CBS News ran a story that said that Trump's claim that he employs "many people" at the Trump Hotel Waikiki was false, based on a disclaimer at the bottom of the hotel's website that suggested the relationship between Trump and the hotel was strictly a licensing deal.
But the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk has this disclaimer at bottom of the website:
"Trump International Hotel & Tower® Waikiki Beach Walk® is not owned, developed or sold by Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization or any of their affiliates. Irongate Azrep BW LLC, the owner and developer of the property, uses the "Trump" name and mark under license from Trump Marks Waikiki LLC, which license may be terminated or revoked according to its terms."
As Trump's campaign spokeswoman acknowledged, there is no downside for Trump in these hotel arrangement. He lent his name to the hotel and his management company now operates it, but he bears none of the financial responsibility.
In 2009, the owner and developer of the hotel, Irongate, was sued by would be buyers of condos at the complex because the developer said Trump was a co-developer in sales contracts, according to an Associated Press report. He was in fact not a co-developer -- and as a result, buyers of 11 condos tried to cancel their sales contracts.
In another lawsuit -- nine more buyers accused Irongate of fraud, worried that Trump could withdraw his name from the property.In its capacity as manager of the hotel, Trump's corporation hires the people that work there, but the sole financial responsibility lies with the owner -- Irongate and the investors. While Trump's name is on the checks, it is not his money that goes to employing the workers at the hotel.