Workers on a new Trump building in Uruguay are unfazed by Donald Trump's inflammatory rhetoric, but mess with their lunch, and there's hell to pay.
Construction workers on the Trump Tower building currently under development in South American coastal city Punta del Este, Uruguay went on a short strike last December, reports local media outlet El País. The motive: about a dozen stolen sausages.
While preparing a lunchtime barbecue, workers discovered that 11 chorizos -- pork sausages that are a must-have at any local asado -- were nowhere to be found. In response to the chorizo robbery, the group halted work until the missing meat was located.
A quick and thorough search began, resulting in the eventual discovery of the lost sausages in one of the workers' backpacks. The barbecue recommenced, as did work on Trump Tower.
The development is expected to be completed in 2017 -- provided there are no more meat-based scandals to get in the way.
Juan di Salvo, Sales Director of Trump Tower Punta del Este, confirmed the incident in a phone interview from Buenos Aires, Argentina. "It was real," he said, chuckling, adding that the building's developers were only alerted to the hiccup by the El País report, the source of which he assumed must have been one of the union workers on the job.
Di Salvo works for Fortune International Realty, the Miami-based real estate sales and rental company that has teamed up with Buenos Aires developer YY Development Group to market Trump Tower Punta del Este.
Announced in 2012 at a press conference attended by real-estate-magnate-turned-Republican-frontrunner Trump and his three children, Eric, Ivanka and Donald, Jr., the luxury residential oceanfront building is being spearheaded by Argentine architects Bernardo Dujovne, Silvia Hirsch and Maria Dujovne of Dujovne-Hirsch & Associates.
From time to time, Trump's son Eric travels to the beachfront city, a popular destination for many of South America's most affluent individuals, for a few days to scope out the progress of the development, to which the Trump Organization has licensed its name and brand. While visiting, Trump does a mini media tour as well.
During a January 2015 visit, Eric's wife, Lara Yunaska, who he married in late 2014, revealed in an interview with ¡Hola! that the pair's travel schedule had kept them from taking a honeymoon. While on this year's trip, Eric talked to El País about his father's White House prospects, telling the publication he believes he will win and comparing him to Argentine President Mauricio Macri.
Once completed, Trump Tower Punta del Este will have 154 apartments and two penthouse spaces. According to di Salvo, about 60% of the development's apartments have already been sold, largely to Argentines, Uruguayans, Europeans and Americans. The going price: about $450 to $650 per square foot, with one-bedroom apartments starting at about $419,500 and three-bedroom spaces starting at $1.4 million. The penthouses have not yet been priced.
Move-ins will begin in December 2017. The development was initially expected to be completed sometime this year, but shake-ups in internal directors and floor plan modifications have extended the timeline.
As to whether Trump's controversial comments on the campaign trail have had any impact on the Uruguay development, di Salvo says no. "For us, in sales, it hasn't changed absolutely anything," he said.
In fact, by his estimates, apartment prices have increased about 10% since last year.
And it's not just Trump Tower Punta del Este's developers and sellers who aren't concerned about Trump's wild ride to the White House -- workers on the development probably aren't, either.
In an interview last July on the heels of the businessman's inflammatory comments about Mexicans and immigrants, Faustino Rodriguez, head of Uruguayan construction labor union SUNCA, said it doesn't matter what Trump says as long as his workers are getting paid.
"We don't need to agree with whatever he decides to say," he said. "We just want to keep our jobs."