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Washington Post: Trump Organization claims 'negative connotation' of Trump brand leads to revenue declines at Florida resort

Updated 1:56 PM ET, Wed May 15, 2019

Washington (CNN) - The Trump Organization's golf resort in Doral, Florida, has become less profitable since Donald Trump announced he was running for president four years ago, the Washington Post reported Wednesday -- a change that a company representative claimed to a local official was due to "some negative connotation that is associated with the brand."

Citing financial data the Trump Organization submitted to Miami-Dade County, the paper said that from 2015 to 2017, the resort's revenue "fell from $92 million to $75 million — an 18 percent drop."

Although the resort is still profitable, documents show that during that period, net operating income shrank from $13.8 million to $4.3 million, according to the paper.

During a 2018 meeting with county officials, the Trump Organization sought to lower the property's tax bill. Tax consultant Jessica Vachiratevanurak told county officials the club was "severely underperforming," and cited "some negative connotation that is associated with the brand" as the reason, according to the paper.

The Trump Organization earlier this year shelved plans to expand two US hotel chains, citing a toxic political climate for the Trump brand.

"We live in a climate where everything will be used against us, whether by the fake news or by Democrats who are only interested in Presidential harassment and wasting everyone's time, barraging us with nonsense letters," Eric Trump said in February.

RELATED: What we know about Trump's business empire

The Trump Organization did not respond to CNN's request for comment on Wednesday.

Eric, who took over managing the business with his older brother Don Jr. when their father assumed office, dismissed the Post's story in a statement to the paper, calling it "completely senseless."

"Our iconic properties are the best in the world and our portfolio is unrivaled by anyone," he told the Post.

The Trump Organization said in a separate statement to the Post that the decline in revenue at Doral is unrelated to the Trump name, and instead cited "fears of the Zika virus in 2016, and hurricanes in 2016 and 2017, for driving tourists away from South Florida," according to the paper.

The Post reported that Vachiratevanurak was able to get the county to lower its assessed property value of Doral "from $110.3 million to $105.6 million" -- a change that lowered Trump's annual tax bills by about $80,000.

According to the paper, the President has previously listed Doral in federal disclosures as his biggest money-maker.

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