A failed resort project in Baja, Mexico, with ties to President Donald Trump, resulted in hundreds of families who purchased property there worth thousands of dollars with nothing more to show than a hole in the ground.
CNN’s Erin Burnett reported on a woman named Sandra Sapol, who spoke about the situation.
Her family wanted to buy a property at a resort, she said, but didn’t want to pay high prices associated with such places that were common in Southern California. The Baja, Mexico, project appealed to her because it was for a significantly cheaper price — albeit, still expensive.
A saleswoman came to speak to Sapol about the project, showing her a brochure about what the ocean-side property would look like.
The project was to be called “Trump Ocean Resort Baja.” A page within the brochure even suggested Trump was part of the project himself.
“In the brochure, it says, ‘Developed by one of the most respected names in real estate, Donald J. Trump,'” Burnett explained in her reporting.
The project, however, was not developed by Trump or his own company, but rather by a third-party organization that had a licensing deal to pay the Trump Organization $500,000 for use of his name, Univision previously reported.
Sapol and her family made their purchase in 2006. By 2009, she and hundreds of others who had also bought property at the resort received an email from the developer:
“Unfortunately, given the extreme dislocation of the financial markets and after exploring a multitude of debt and equity financing alternatives, the Baja project will not be able to proceed,” the email read.
What’s left of the project is an unimpressive, large hole where buildings and swimming pools were promised to be. Burnett took Sapol to the property, where she sadly exclaimed, “There’s my hole! That’s what I bought, my hole!”
The Trump Organization was part of a class-action lawsuit in 2013 regarding the failed project, which, among other things, claimed that Trump and his family had participated in a fraudulent marketing project to make it appear as though they were developers or investors, when in fact they were not.
The lawsuit was settled out of court. The Trump Organization paid an undisclosed “substantial amount” to the families wronged by the outcome of the project.
Sapol says she still feels spurned by the president.
“It’s hard when you feel like you’ve been ripped off by a big name,” she said.