Trump Faces Uphill Battle in Scotland


Scottish lawmakers are planning to question government ministers and officials about their contacts with executives working on Donald Trump's $2 billion golf development in Aberdeenshire.

Among those to be questioned are First Minister Alex Salmond, Finance Minister John Swinney, Stewart Stevenson, the minister responsible for infrastructure and James McKinnon, Scotland's chief planner. The officials will testify January 16, according to a parliament spokeswoman.

The Scottish National Party-led government has been accused by politicians from the opposition Labour, Liberal and Conservative parties of improper contacts with Trump during the planning process. As a result, hearings will be held to investigate any improprieties. The government will also review a decision by an Aberdeenshire Council committee to initially block the plan, after environmentalists criticized its impact on a nature reserve. The Abdeenshire Council has since given "overwhelming support" to the proposal.

Trump wants to build two 18-hole golf courses, a 450-room luxury hotel, 950 short-term rental apartments and 500 homes on the 1,400-acre (Menie Estate, about 10 miles north of Aberdeen. It's expected to create at least 1,200 jobs.

According to Bloomberg news services, Salmond cannot take part in the decision because of a possible conflict. Swinney is in a similar situation, having traveled to New York and playing one of Trump's golf courses, though the two men did not meet. McKinnon had a telephone conversation with the Aberdeenshire municipality while two Trump officials, George Sorial and Neil Hobday, were in the room.


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