The biggest Trump financial mystery? Where he came up with the cash for his Scottish resorts. - 2020-08-04
In 2006, Donald Trump purchased a 1,400-acre swath of the old Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, a rambling property situated on Scotland's rugged and remote northeastern coast. Trump pledged to develop a world-class golf resort replete with luxury villas there, and he vowed to revitalize the region with more than a billion dollars of investment. Though not an obvious location for a glitzy development—the area is mostly known for its offshore oil industry, and it rains more than a third of the year—Aberdeenshire was to be the beachhead of the mogul's ambitious plan to insert his family name among the storied golf courses of Scotland, the birthplace of the sport, and attain for his brand the kind of old-world prestige that had eluded Trump in the United States.
The development seemed particularly important to Trump, whose mother hailed from the Isle of Lewis, a far-flung island in the Outer Hebrides. And it was unlike anything he had undertaken before. He often licenses his name to projects financed by others. And the self-proclaimed "king of debt" typically takes out large loans to finance the ventures he does bankroll. In this case, Trump's company proceeded with the development on its own. And it says it paid for everything in cash.
Such was also the case for Turnberry, the historic golf resort, an hour south of Glasgow, that Trump purchased in 2014 for $60 million. His large expenditures in Scotland were notable because they came during a rocky financial stretch for Trump. The year before purchasing the Aberdeenshire estate, he was ousted as CEO of his thrice-bankrupted casino business; in 2008, he defaulted on a large Deutsche Bank loan tied to a development in Chicago.