Donald Trump's Scottish golf course in Aberdeenshire has been destroyed by the environmentally sensitive coastal sand dunes. Trump had promised to protect them.
Trump promised in 2008 that the dunes would remain there for all time and that he would address any concerns about his course. After the course is completed, it will be more environmentally friendly than ever before.
Officials announced late last year that the dunes were no longer protected as they had been partially demolished.
The dunes were removed from the site of special scientific importance following construction of Trump International Golf Links north-east of Aberdeen. NatureScot declared them extinct.
The agency stated that there is no reason to preserve the dunes now, as they don't contain enough of the unique, natural features they were designed for.
This dramatic change was already evident in the overhead photos of Foveran Links dunes in 2019, (see clip).
You can see the dramatic effect in these before-and-after photos of the dunes taken by Business Insider in 2010 and 2021.
NatureScot described the dunes as a high-quality example a sanddune system that was once characteristic of northeast Scotland. It was also of extraordinary importance to the many coastal landforms.
Bob Ward, policy and communications director at The London School of Economics Climate Change Research Institute, stated that the loss of the special designation of the dunes meant that the environment was no longer protected. This statement is bitterly disappointing, as it shows that golf still has the upper hand when it comes to Scotland's natural heritage.
Trump claimed that he would stabilize dunes. This apparently meant that he would build on them. Ward explained to Business Insider that this had stopped the natural movement and response of the dunes to environmental fluctuations. He said that they have essentially killed the natural environment.
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Trump's promises that his Aberdeenshire course, and the Turnberry course would bring economic benefits to the region have also failed.
Early this year, the Trump Organization's financial filings revealed a $4.6 Million annual loss at the Scottish courses. This boosted the total red-ink for the operations to an eye-popping 75 million over eight years. Trump has not paid any tax on the properties. During the COVID-19 pandemic, which sought to protect jobs and then reduce workers, taxpayer subsidies were paid to the courses for $800,000. Union officials complained.
The filings for 2019 didn't reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business.
The Trump Organization has made huge outlays on the properties throughout the years, despite the losses. According to the most recent filing, it has also been approved to build a 500-unit housing project at $185 million near the Aberdeenshire club. This was the plan.
The resort losses are so large that money laundering suspicions have been raised. These suspicions have put the courses in the middle of a ongoing legal battle in Scotland.
Avaaz, a global activist group, has filed a court case against the Scottish government in an effort to use its McMafia law and force Trump to disclose the secret sources of his cash purchases and the development of his Scottish golf courses. Trump was in deep debt at the time of his purchases and banks were reluctant lending money to him.
It is not common to account for Trump's Scottish resorts because Trump is the creditor of his own businesses. This means that payment for many resort costs flows to Trump Organization.
Adam Davidson, a New Yorker business writer, suggested that money laundering could be possible because of the circular flow money in Trump companies. He called the resorts money-vanishing operations.
Davidson explained that Trump is the owner of the asset, he lends the money and owes it. Trump spends every dollar he spends on the asset, and lends millions of dollars to himself each year.
Officials from Trump Organization could not be reached immediately for comment.
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This article was originally published on HuffPost. It has since been updated.