Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman of the House Government Operations Subcommittee, sent a letter to the General Services Administration (GSA) outlining new concerns about former President Trump’s lease for the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., his failure to disclose significant losses and debts in public filings and lease documents, and his conflicts of interest as President.
The Committee’s findings were based on documents acquired lately from the GSA.
“The documents provided by GSA raise new and troubling questions about former President Trump’s lease with GSA and the agency’s ability to manage the former President’s conflicts of interest during his term in office when he was effectively on both sides of the contract, as landlord and tenant.”
“Specifically, the Committee found that President Trump provided misleading information about the financial situation of the Trump Hotel in his annual financial disclosures; received undisclosed preferential treatment from a foreign bank on a $170 million loan to the hotel that the President personally guaranteed; accepted millions of dollars in emoluments from foreign governments without providing an accounting of the money’s source or purpose; concealed hundreds of millions of dollars in debts from GSA when bidding on the Old Post Office Building lease; and made it impossible for GSA to properly enforce the lease’s conflict-of-interest restrictions by engaging in opaque transactions with other affiliated entities. As discussed in this letter, this new evidence raises many questions that require further investigation and action by the Committee.”
Notwithstanding the precedent set by every modern American president, President Trump maintained his financial stake in his numerous commercial organizations, including the Trump Hotel, throughout his time in office.
The hotel first opened its doors to the public in September 2016, just weeks after Mr. Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination. Throughout President Trump’s presidency, there have been many allegations of foreign and local interests visiting the Trump Hotel in order to court favor with the President.
For more than five years, the Committee has been looking into potential conflicts of interest connected to the GSA’s lease management of the Trump Hotel. GSA failed to significantly cooperate with the Committee’s demands under the Trump administration.
GSA finally produced a subset of requested documents on July 9, 2021, including the Trump Hotel’s audited financial statements from 2014 to 2020, three years’ worth of President Trump’s statements of financial condition that were submitted to GSA to win the federal lease, and communications between President Trump’s businesses and GSA regarding the lease.
These documents demonstrate:
- Former President Trump Reported Massive Revenues at the Trump Hotel, Concealing that the Hotel Suffered $70 Million in Net Losses. President Trump revealed on his legally required financial reports that the Trump Hotel generated him more than $150 million in income during his presidency. The documents acquired by the Committee, however, indicate that the Trump Property really suffered net losses of more than $70 million, prompting the former President’s holding company to invest at least $24 million to save the ailing hotel. President Trump inflated the Trump Hotel’s financial health by submitting these deceptive public reports. He also seems to have hidden possible conflicts of interest arising not just from his ownership of this failing company, but also from his positions as the hotel’s lender and guarantor of third-party debts.
- While in Office, President Trump Received Preferential Treatment Potentially Worth Millions from a Foreign Bank. According to the papers, in 2018, Deutsche Bank gave President Trump with a substantial financial advantage by enabling him to postpone principal payments on the Trump Hotel’s $170 million loan, which Trump personally guaranteed, for six years. Without this delay, the hotel would have had to pay tens of millions of dollars to Deutsche Bank at a time when it was already losing money. During his presidency, Mr. Trump did not publicly disclose this substantial gain from a foreign bank.
- The Trump Hotel Received Over $3.7 Million from Foreign Governments. According to the Committee’s research, the Trump Hotel received an estimated $3.7 million in payments from foreign governments from 2017 to 2020, raising concerns about potential breaches of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. This sum would have covered almost 7,400 nights at the Trump Hotel at the average daily rate. Former President Trump neglected to disclose information regarding these payments to GSA, and he “donated” just the part of these payments that his business judged to be profits to the Treasury.
- Former President Trump Concealed Debts When Bidding on Old Post Office Building Lease. Former President Trump supplied GSA with financial documents that seemed to hide some obligations when he sought to lease the Old Post Office Building in 2011. In particular, he supplied a 2008 financial statement revealing over $1.1 billion in outstanding loan amounts for properties in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York, and San Francisco. Despite the fact that these loans were still due in 2009 and 2010, President Trump excluded them from his financial filings for those years, concealing critical information.
- The Trump Hotel Moved Around Millions of Dollars in Opaque Transactions with Other Trump Businesses. Millions of dollars were moved in and out of President Trump’s D.C. hotel through linked companies and opaque transactions, raising concerns about the GSA’s capacity to enforce rules that prevented President Trump from moving money out of the company.
In light of these disturbing new findings, Chairwoman Maloney and Chairman Connolly emphasized the need of further inquiry and legislative change.
The Chairs also requested that GSA provide additional documents, such as those relating to the Trump Hotel’s loan from Deutsche Bank, GSA’s due diligence on the financial records received from President Trump, foreign government payments to the Trump Hotel, and loans made by Trump or his businesses to the Trump Hotel.
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The Committee is still looking for relevant documents.