Donald Trump’s hotel executives have been ousted by police officers from Panama’s Trump Hotel, as officials stepped in to resolve a standoff between the US president’s company and the property owners.
A Panamanian judge accompanied by armed police officers escorted out the head of the Trump-branded 70-story, luxury property in Panama City on Monday, with security staff departing soon after.
Crews immediately began stripping President Trump’s name from the building.
The action by Panama’s government resolves a 12-day stand-off between President Trump’s family hotel business and Orestes Fintiklis, a private equity investor who sought to drop Trump’s management company and brand.
Mr Fintiklis and other owners tried to fire Mr Trump’s company last year, but the Trump Organisation had refused to surrender physical possession of the hotel.
And while a legal dispute of President Trump’s management contract at the hotel continues, the developments indicate the physical control of the property has effectively been surrendered.
“This was purely a commercial dispute that just spun out of control,” Mr Fintiklis said as he entered the hotel.
“And today this dispute has been settled by the authorities and the judges of this country.”
The Trump Hotel’s website has since ceased offering direct bookings at the hotel.
“We apologise,” the website said. “There are no available rooms for your requested stay.”
Last year, the Trump Organisation had disputed the termination of its contract would be legally invalid, after Mr Fintiklis signed a February 2017 agreement not to challenge Trump’s management contract.
Mr Fintiklis argued after the deal closed in August that the hotel had been mismanaged by President Trump’s staff.
In late December, Mr Trump’s management team ran off a team of Marriott hotel executives visiting the property at Mr Fintiklis’ invitation.
Trump officials denounced Mr Fintiklis’ efforts to take control of the property as “thug-like, mob-style tactics” and pledged it would not give in to “bullying and the use of force” in a February statement.