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Officials mum about potential sale of Las Vegas Trump Hotel

Updated April 5, 2024 - 7:28 pm

Could the nongaming Trump International Hotel just off the Strip be sold to generate revenue for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s enormous civil fraud penalties?

The people closest to the property’s ownership — Trump and business partner Phil Ruffin — aren’t saying, and lodging industry experts say they haven’t heard anything about a potential sale of the 64-story, 1,282-suite property, which opened in 2008.

Ruffin also is the owner of the Treasure Island and Circus Circus hotel-casinos.

The Associated Press in February reported that New York Attorney General Letitia James said she would attempt to seize Trump properties to pay the $454 million civil fraud penalty that, with interest, is escalating by an estimated $87,502 a day.

Trump was assessed the fine following a Feb. 16 ruling by Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron. In January, a jury also ordered Trump to pay an $83.3 million judgment for defaming writer E. Jean Carroll. Trump has denied wrongdoing and vows to appeal.

Whether James, a Democrat, would attempt to seize Trump International in Las Vegas is unclear.

Clark County records show the parcel is owned by Trump Ruffin Tower I LLC.

Contacted Friday, a representative for Ruffin said he would have no comment on the matter, and Trump hotel officials did not return calls seeking comment.

Trump and Ruffin struck up a friendship when they partnered to build the tower, initially targeted as a condominium high-rise. When condo sales flagged in the run-up to the Great Recession, the Trump Organization changed strategies and brought in Hilton Grand Vacations to take some of the suites as timeshare units. Some suites also were made available as hotel rooms.

Because of the plan to develop residences, the Trump Organization opted not to put a casino in the property.

At the time, Eric Trump, a son of Donald Trump and one of the top local executives, explained the unusual strategy of having a Strip property without a casino.

“We have no problem getting a gaming license, but we wanted to do something different here,” Eric Trump said “We wanted a true luxury resort experience. It’s hard to have a high-quality product when you walk into ‘ding, ding, ding’ and there are people walking around in Hawaiian shirts with big plastic drink mugs.”

Trump and Ruffin planned building a second nearly-identical tower at the site, but those plans fell through as the recession hit.

The local Trump hotel has two restaurants and a pool deck. In addition to opting against adding a casino, developers decided to have small meeting rooms instead of a convention center.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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