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On new Indian condos, the name is Trump, and the lure is meeting one
[MUMBAI] What's one of the best ways right now to crack into the Trump family inner circle?
Buy a swanky condominium in India.
Indian developers are promising to fly the first group of buyers in a new Trump Towers project to New York for an event with Donald Trump Jr, according to Indian news reports and a video on one of the developers' websites.
The glitzy project, which will rise high above Gurugram, a suburb of New Delhi, has become the latest matter to draw questions about the way the Trump family is handling its convergence of business and politics. Reports in the Indian press last week, followed by a Washington Post article Thursday, have brought new accusations of influence peddling.
But the Indian developers aren't shying away from their offer to get the first buyers of these condos in front of Trump Jr, President Donald Trump's oldest child, who helps run the family's real estate empire.
According to an article by the Press Trust of India that appeared in The Hindustan Times on Jan. 10, Pankaj Bansal, the director of one of the Indian property developers, said: "About an initial 100 buyers will fly to the US where Donald Trump Jr. will host them." The apartment project consists of two glittering 600-foot towers, among the tallest in the area, featuring apartments that have 22-foot-high ceilings, infinity pools and floor-to-ceiling windows. Picture lots of marble and lots of glass.
A video included on the website of Tribeca Developers, one of the other Indian partners, features a segment of a news broadcast on the project, reiterating the promise to meet a Trump.
"Buy a flat, meet Trump Jr!" the video says.
According to Indian news reports, the developers sold 20 units in the first day of sales in January.
Ethicists in the United States expressed concern about the conflict-of-interest issues raised by such inducements.
Norman L Eisen, who was the ethics counsel for President Barack Obama, said it was "outrageous that access to the Trump family is once again being sold - this time to foreign purchasers, no less." He added: "This is a brazen violation of ethics best practices, but not alas a surprising one; it is of a piece with the access to the Trump family that members at domestic Trump properties get for their often steep fees."
Richard W Painter, who was the ethics counsel for President George W Bush, said the India deal was "inappropriate, but legal." He urged the Trump children to publicly declare that they will not discuss government policy with customers. "They could dramatically reduce their risk if they categorically make it clear that they will not discuss US government interests with anyone with whom they have an actual or prospective financial relationship," Mr Painter said.
The news release for the project, which does not mention the offer of access to Trump Jrs, goes on about its various bells and whistles, making the project sound something like a cruise ship - with a golf course attached.
"Residents will enjoy an exclusive collection of super luxury amenities at the Trump Club, including Gurugram's first temperature-controlled indoor pool, spa, and fitness center with sauna, steam and massage rooms, library, lounge, games room, children's play area, a fine-dining restaurant and business center, just to name a few," the developers said.
The building will employ "hand-picked staff" to deliver room service and park cars.
The Trump Organization, the family's business conglomerate, already has several real estate projects in the works in India, including a new apartment building in Kolkata. This will be the fourth Trump Tower in India, which has more Trump branded properties than any other country outside North America, the developers said.
Despite a recent dip in India's economic growth rate and a slowdown in the construction, auto and textile sectors, the country's huge market and growing economy have remained a powerful draw for investors.
The new project will be called Trump Towers Delhi NCR. (The NCR refers to the National Capital Region) It has 250 apartments, costing from around US$800,000 to more than US$1.5 million. The project is a joint venture between M3M India Pvt Ltd, a property developer based in Gurugram, and Tribeca Developers, based in Mumbai.
Status seems to be a big draw.
"Trump Towers Delhi NCR will quickly become the most prestigious address in the city," said Trump Jr, according to the news release on the project.