The House Committee on Oversight and Reform said the luxury hotel a few blocks from the White House was struggling so much that the Trump Organization had to inject $ 27 million from other parts of its operations and obtained preferential treatment from a major lender for delaying payments on a $ 170 million loan.
The committee said the losses came despite an estimated $ 3.7 million in revenue from foreign governments, a deal ethics experts say Trump should have turned down because it posed conflicts of interest with his role as President.
The Trump organization said in a statement that the Democrat-led committee’s findings were misleading and false, and that it had received no special treatment from a lender.
“This report is nothing more than continued political harassment in a desperate attempt to mislead the American public and vilify Trump in pursuing their own agenda,” the company said.
The committee documents, the first public disclosure of the hotel’s audited financial statements, show significant losses despite sustained activity by lobbyists, businesses and Republican groups while Trump was in power.
The alleged delay in Deutsche Bank’s loan to the president was “undisclosed preferential treatment” that should have been reported by the president because the bank has substantial business in the United States, the committee said in a letter to the General Services Administration, the federal agency. oversee the hotel. The hotel is leased by the federal government to the Trump Organization.
“The documents … raise new and troubling questions about former President Trump’s tenure with the GSA and the agency’s ability to manage the former president’s conflicts of interest during his tenure as he ‘he was effectively on both sides of the contract, as landlord and tenant, “Democratic committee co-chairs Carolyn Maloney of New York and Gerald Connolly of Virginia wrote in their letter.
The GSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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For its part, Deutsche Bank said in a statement that the committee had made “several inaccurate statements” about the loan agreement but declined to give details, citing loan confidentiality concerns.
The committee’s letter to the GSA said the hotel losses contradicted the president’s “exaggerated picture of financial success” in the personal financial disclosure reports he sent each year to a federal ethics agency. But those reports only require disclosure of income, not profits, an apples-to-oranges comparison which one of Trump’s sons grabbed in a tweet lambasting the committee.
“Please learn the difference between gross income and bottom line before you write us long letters,” Eric Trump wrote, calling the committee “incompetent.”
Trump’s company has been trying to sell the 263-room hotel since fall 2019, but has struggled to find buyers during the coronavirus pandemic at a reported initial asking price of over $ 500 million.
The head of the government’s ethics watchdog CREW said the losses shed new light on Trump’s refusal to ban foreign governments from sponsoring his company.
“The only lifeline was corrupt business from people, organizations and governments seeking to influence it,” said Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “His use of the presidency to get business was absolutely essential in stemming the flow of losses. “
To allay concerns about conflicts of interest, Trump has pledged to send payments to the US Treasury every year on foreign government income from his business. The committee said payments from hotels in Washington under the deal totaled more than $ 350,000 in the first three years of his chairmanship. Critics of the voluntary deal say Trump’s definition of income is unclear and has given the president plenty of room to lower the number.
Although the Washington hotel was badly affected by closures related to the pandemic last year, audited financial statements released by the committee show it was also suffering every year it was open prior to that. He lost nearly $ 50 million in the first three years of his presidency, then $ 22 million last year.
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