Business blowhard Donald Trump has created an indelible meaning for his world-famous brand: failed real-estate ventures. The latest event to cement the Trump reputation: a failed condo project in Mexico which cost buyers $32 million.
Trump never put his own money into the Trump Ocean Resort Baja, an oceanside condominium tower north of Rosarito, Baja California. Instead, he and daughter Ivanka lent their names and faces to the developers in exchange for a licensing fee. The Trump family appeared personally at a sales event in San Diego in 2006 and sold 188 units for $122 million in a single day.
Among the buyers: Single mom Guadalupe Mendoza of Downey, Calif., who refinanced her own house and got a loan from her sister in order to put $200,000 down on a $667,000 condo. Her deposit is now gone, and she now says she can't afford to send her teenage sons to college.
In 2007, Ivanka Trump told the AP that her father was "the boss" and "involved in every capacity." But in December, Mendoza and other buyers got a letter revealing that Trump was not an investor and that bank financing had fallen through. In January, Trump announced that he was taking his name off the project.
Foolish woman, you say! Mendoza should have kept her money in stocks and bonds. Oh, wait — those have gone south, too. Nothing is worth anything anymore. At least she got the once-in-a-lifetime experience of getting ripped off in person by the famous Donald Trump. Isn't that worth something?
What's left of the Trump development in Baja: