Trump Org. Is Pressuring Panama’s President To Interfere In Its Hotel Dispute

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A judge's ruling in March stripped Trump Panama Hotel Management of administration rights to the building.

Lawyers for Trump Panama Hotel Management LLC, owned by the Trump Organization, have petitioned President Juan Carlos Varela and others in the government to intercede in its dispute regarding the hotel formerly baring Trump's name.

The organization, through its lawyers in Panama, sent a letter to President Juan Carlos Varela as well as copies to the heads of the judiciary and legislature.

In the letter, the lawyers asked Varela to intervene in the case to "avoid potential damage to the Panamanian state."

It added that the the case represented a "clear violation" of commercial agreements protecting the rights of US investors in Panama.

The hotel, renamed The Bahia Grand Panamá after Trump's moniker was removed, was the site of violent clashes over management issues prior to a court ruling on March 5 that removed Trump Panama Hotel Management as administrators of the property.

What until now had been a commercial dispute between business owners has turned into a potential diplomatic nightmare after lawyers for the Trump Organization sent a letter to President Juan Carlos Varela asking him to intervene in a court case involving the former Trump Hotel.

Lawyers for Trump Panama Hotel Management LLC, which belongs to the Trump Organization, sent the letter to the president on March 23. That letter reminded Varela of Panama's obligations under a 1983 treaty that protects the rights of investors from the United States.

According to the 1983 agreement, both states agree to grant fair and equitable treatment to investors, and ensures they will be given protection and total security.

Though it remains unclear whether the Trump Organization will find success with its attempt to bypass the courts, legal experts believe the company's argument lacks merit:

Juan Carlos Araúz, former vice president of the National Bar Association, said that "every trial before the courts involves a process about the competence of the judge to decide in this or that direction. That activates the mechanisms to challenge those decisions. The executive is prevented from intervening. "

Minister of the Presidency Álvaro Alemán, said: "The Executive Branch cannot interfere in a matter that is the exclusive competence of the judicial branch or an arbitrator."