The Washington, D.C. hotel lease, run by Donald Trump’s family business while he was president, a symbol of his power with Republicans and corruption with his critics, has been sold by his family business to a Miami-based investment fund.
The Trump Organization said Wednesday it had completed the sale of a long-term lease of the Trump International Hotel to Miami’s CGI Merchant Group for what it described as a record price per room for the city.
Sources familiar with the deal, requesting anonymity to discuss the private transaction, said the price was US$375 million, earning the Trump family business possibly up to $100 million in profits.
The new owners planned to remove the Trump name from the facade and rebrand the hotel as Waldorf Astoria. Workers were seen removing signage from the hotel on Wednesday evening.
The Associated Press reported earlier this year that the group of investors includes former Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez.
Sale price defying expectations
Many hotel brokers, owners and consultants did not expect the 263-room hotel down the street from the White House to fetch such a high price. The hotel has lost more than $70 million over the four years of Trump’s presidency, including every year before the pandemic shutdowns.
The former president’s son, Eric Trump, said Wednesday that the Trump Organization took a “dilapidated, underused building and transformed it into one of the most iconic hotels in the world.” He hailed “the biggest sale of a historic hotel in more than 15 years”.
Democrats in Congress are questioning the deal, which equates to more than $1.4 million per chamber. Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Oversight Committee, called it Wednesday “the latest in a long line of dodgy deals, conflicts of interest and constitutional violations involving former President Trump and his Washington hotel. , DC”.
“The former president will personally receive tens of millions of dollars in profits by selling his lease at a significant premium to market rates, but the American public still doesn’t know who this deal belongs to,” Maloney said.
The Trump Hotel in Washington, DC has always presented a clear conflict of interest. This sale ends an era of corruption. I am currently working on legislation that will ensure that no future #POTUS will not be able to benefit from this sort of arrangement. https://t.co/5kvUZAYYFY
Earlier this month, the committee requested documents from CGI listing all of its investors.
Democrats also want to make sure there are tougher, enforced laws regarding a new president’s business assets.
Trump, DC just settled a hotel-related case
The hotel was a magnet for lobbyists, diplomats and others seeking to curry favor with the president. Democrats said it tarnished the reputation of the presidency, pitted its financial interests against the public interest and possibly broke the law. Several lawsuits challenging his ownership of the lease have failed.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, said Thursday that “the Trump hotel will live as a black eye on government ethics.”
The controversies began at the start of his presidency. The DC attorney general alleged in a lawsuit that Trump’s presidential inaugural committee overpaid for events at the hotel and enriched the former president’s family in the process.
The committee raised an unprecedented $107 million to host events celebrating Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.
Last week, Attorney General Karl Racine announced that a settlement in that lawsuit had been reached that would see the Trump Organization and the committee pay $750,000.
Hours later, Trump blasted Racine and noted that the settlement did not include any admission of guilt or liability.
The hotel is the old post office building and is still officially owned by the federal government. The Trump Organization won the right to repair the building and run it as a hotel in exchange for paying the government’s annual rent and cutting profits on a sale.