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Trump Organization to close modeling agency

© Getty/AFP/File | On the heels of the recent sale of the Miss Universe Organization, The Trump Organization is choosing to exit the modeling industry

NEW YORK (AFP) - 

The Trump Organization, the conglomerate that unites US President Donald Trump's disparate family business interests, announced Monday that it was closing its modeling agency after 18 years.

"On the heels of the recent sale of the Miss Universe Organization, The Trump Organization is choosing to exit the modeling industry," a spokesperson said.

"While we enjoyed many years of success, we are focused on our core businesses in the real estate and golf industries and the rapid expansion of our hospitality division," the spokesperson added.

The Miss Universe beauty pageant was owned by Trump for years, but the then-presidential candidate sold it in 2015 to a talent management group after making remarks that offended Mexican immigrants.

It was not immediately clear when exactly the modeling agency, which is still listed on The Trump Organization website, would close.

Founded in 1999, the company website describes Trump Model Management as "one of New York City's top modeling agencies."

But media reports long indicated that the agency was in trouble as models departed in search of new management, some citing Trump's inflammatory brand of politics -- toxic in the fashion industry.

"I owe it to myself and to my children to proudly stand up for what I believe in and that is a world where Donald Trump has no voice for the future of our country," wrote departing model Maggie Rizer on her Instagram page shortly before last year's November 8 election.

Modeling has been a venture close to the president's heart. His current wife and his two divorced wives have all modeled, as has daughter Ivanka Trump, now an unpaid adviser in the White House.

Trump officially handed over control of his business to his two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, just days before moving to Washington and being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States in late January.

But he came under further backlash from political opponents and ethics experts for refusing to divest fully from the conglomerate.

© 2017 AFP