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Trump ‘hoodwinked’ Scotland with golf course promises, says former project director

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Neil Hobday, the former project director for former President Trump’s golf course in Scotland, said the country was “hoodwinked” by his claims that he would spend 1 billion pounds to develop the property.

Hodbay told the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) that he felt “hoodwinked and ashamed” that he and Scotland fell for Trump’s overestimate.

Trump claimed that he would spend one billion British pounds on the new project, about $1.2 billion. Hobday was the consultant project director for the Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course, which opened in 2012, BBC News reported.

In 2006, Trump purchased land near Aberdeen. He had planned for the 18-hole course to have a five-star hotel, villas and more, and was supported by the local economy looking for tourism and jobs.

In 2018, Trump’s golf course reportedly “destroyed the vast majority” of protected sand dunes in the area, despite a pledge not to. After opening in 2012, the golf course didn’t live up to its promises, losing millions.

BBC News reported that the Trump Organization said it spent around 100 million pounds on the Aberdeenshire golf resort, but new accounts show the facility has a value of 33.2 million pounds. It’s racked up 13.3 million pounds in losses since opening.

“I don’t think even if he could raise the money to build the whole thing out, he wanted the golf course and that was it,” he said. “He was willing to fight the environmental battle and create this impression that this was a $1 billion project and Scotland absolutely needed it. But I think he never really had the money or the intention of finishing it.”  

“I feel very hoodwinked and ashamed that I fell for it and Scotland fell for it. We all fell for it. He was never going to do it,” Hobday said.

Trump’s Aberdeenshire course was included in his New York civil fraud case, which found he conspired to alter his net worth to receive better tax and insurance benefits. A judge found Trump liable and ordered him to pay more than $355 million in penalties.

In May 2023, Trump traveled to Scotland to break ground on a new golf course in honor of his mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, who was born in the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.

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