Donald Trump and Aspen
August 6, 2015
News about his public argument with his wife at Bonnie's was a tabloid sensation. His attorneys once fired off a cease-and-desist letter to the organizers of an Aspen bike tour. He taunted Prince Bandar bin-Sultan when the prince listed his Starwood estate for $135 million. And his Trump Organization's name was behind sponsorships at three holes at this week's Aspen Junior Golf Club tournament.
Donald Trump takes his presidential campaign to Cleveland today, where he'll square off against other hopefuls for the GOP nomination. He has enjoyed a whirlwind of support, largely because his candid remarks about immigration and other polarizing issues have resonated with a number of voters. That's according to statements made by Sen. John McCain — also a recipient of Trump's chiding remarks in a well publicized war of words — last month at the Aspen Security Forum.
McCain also told GOP candidates to stick to their message at the debate, and don't engage Trump.
"Do not … not so much ignore something like a direct attack, you don't want to totally ignore him, but get your message out," he told interviewer Lesley Stahl.
Organizers of the Aspen Tour de Rump, a summer tradition for the past few decades, once felt Trump's wrath.
In the late 1980s, Trump's attorneys sent a letter to Tour de Rump organizer Ron Krajian. The lawyers contended that Tour de Rump violated the trademark for Tour de Trump, a road cycle race sponsored by Trump decades ago.
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"You are using the name and mark Tour de Rump in connection with an 'inaugural' cycling event," Trump's counsel wrote. "Your use of that name and mark is likely to cause confusion and constitutes trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin, all in violation of applicable federal and state laws.
"Unless you give us your written assurance within 24 hours after receipt of this letter that you will forthwith cease and desist using the name and mark Tour de Rump, or any name or mark confusingly similar to Tour de Trump, we will institute legal action against you seeking injunctive relief, legal fees and actual and punitive damages."
Nothing came of the cease-and-desist letter — Krajian's counsel replied with a letter saying the Tour de Rump was strictly a local event and not held for commercial purposes. The Tour de Rump was held again Saturday, with bicyclists dressed in costumes and partying at Koch Lumber Park. The Tour de Trump, meanwhile, lasted in 1989 and 1990, before DuPont took over as the title sponsor from 1991 to 1996.
Even so, organizers of the Tour de Rump event declined interviews for this story. Their reason: fears that Trump would sue them.
Trump's most infamous Aspen episode, however, happened during the high holidays in 1989 outside of Bonnie's restaurant on Aspen Mountain. There, in front of numerous onlookers, Ivana and her husband's mistress, Marla Maples, clashed about the affair. The Trump couple were staying at The Little Nell, while Donald Trump had been putting Maples up at another location. When Trump asked the two women what was happening, Ivana skied off. Donald tried to catch her, to no avail.
"In a scene worthy of vintage James Bond — fur-lined hats, mistresses, ski jewellery and Ivana reportedly skiing backwards to shout at the fleeing Donald face-to-face — the then Mrs. Ivana Trump accosted Marla at Bonnie's the mountaintop (sic) restaurant, calling her 'Moolah' in her barbed wire Czech-glish and warning her away from her man," The Independent (U.K) recalled in an October 1997 article. Former Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis remembered the event.
"Witnesses said she took off down the ski hill with him in pursuit," Braudis said. "But she was a much better skier and left him for dead."
Less than 10 weeks later, the power couple announced they were getting divorced in February 1990.
More recently, in 2006, Trump took potshots at Prince Bandar when he marketed his Starwood home for $135 million, making it the most expensive real estate listing in the U.S. at the time. Trump's Palm Beach estate previously had enjoyed the highest price of advertised real estate — $125 million. Trump said Bandar was "some character putting on a price just to try to top Trump."
You'll get no complaints about the Trump family from Aspen Junior Golf, however. At the nonprofit's fundraiser golf tournament Monday at Aspen Golf Club, three holes were sponsored by the Trump Organization.
Sponsorship commands $300 a hole, said tourney organizer Charlie Weaver. But the Trump Organization, which is the Trump family's real estate, hospitality and investment firm, also provided a free round of golf for four at any one of Trump's private golf courses. The round auctioned off for $4,000, twice the value, Weaver said.
Weaver said Eric Trump, the son of Donald and Ivana, worked directly with Aspen Junior Golf for the auction gift.
"That's a huge help," he said. "It's goes a long way toward helping our kids with scholarships."