President Trump set for million-dollar tax bailout on Scottish golf resorts

AYR, Scotland — Scottish golf courses owned by President Donald Trump’s businesses stand to benefit from more than a million dollars of taxpayer money, as part of a coronavirus relief program run by the Scottish government, according to government officials and an executive at one of Trump’s companies.

The financial relief is aimed at helping the country’s tourism and leisure industries hurt by the economic downturn from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Trump Organization owns a 45-hole golf resort in Turnberry, a famed course on Scotland’s windy west coast, and a smaller course and hotel north of Aberdeenshire, called Trump International Scotland.

Restrictions prompted by the coronavirus have forced stores and sports facilities to close across Scotland and the rest of Britain. The Scottish government has offered financial aid to affected businesses in the form of tax relief aimed at boosting the tourism and the hospitality sectors.

Kenny Ross, a spokesperson for the South Ayrshire Council, one of the two local authorities responsible for administering that tax relief in the area, confirmed to NBC News that the council was currently undertaking an exercise “to award this relief to all eligible businesses, which will include Trump Turnberry.”

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Since the 1990s, Scotland has had its own Legislature, separate from the United Kingdom’s Parliament in London.

Scottish lawmakers have the responsibility for delivering specific public services and passing legislation in the fiscal sphere. Both the Scottish and the British governments have taken measures to support businesses hit by the coronavirus shutdowns.

Trump’s business in Scotland could receive around 900,000 pounds ($1.14 million) in tax relief from the Scottish government program, based on NBC News calculations, after publicly available appraisal figures for the two golf businesses were entered into a Scottish government website.

Neither Trump International nor Trump Turnberry have made a profit in the last five years, according to public records at Companies House, a government body that registers company information.

The bailout was first reported by The Guardian newspaper.

When asked whether taxpayers would be helping to bail out Trump’s businesses, Derek Watson, a spokesperson for the Scottish government said the government was supporting all businesses across Scotland.

He said it was “for local authorities to determine eligibility for rates relief, based on Scottish government legislation.”

White House officials were not immediately available for comment.

Donald Trump gives a press conference on the 9th tee at his Trump Turnberry Resort in Ayr, Scotland.Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images file

Trump was most recently in Scotland to play a round of golf at his Turnberry resort in July 2018, following his first official state visit to the U.K., which included tea with Queen Elizabeth II. Trump often plays golf at his resorts in Florida and Virginia.

Trump resigned as a director of the Turnberry business when he took office in January 2017, according to Reuters.

In the United States, a $3 trillion coronavirus spending plan, passed by Congress in late March, specifically prohibited Trump or his family members from receiving any of its associated benefits.

Trump’s Scottish business did not explicitly confirm the amount of the tax benefit the company would receive from the government, nor did it comment on how badly affected the company had been by the pandemic.

But Sarah Malone, an executive vice president of Trump International Scotland told NBC News that “the government rate relief is not applied for, it is granted automatically to those affected.”

“The government schemes are designed to protect jobs and businesses affected by this worldwide crisis and to provide financial support to individuals unable to work,” she said in a statement.

Trump reshared a tweet that his son Eric sent early Thursday, announcing that the Trump Doral resort in Miami would be reopening this month. The president noted that the Trump family had not asked the U.S. federal government for any funds.