Donald Trump’s prized property in Washington, D.C., the Trump International Hotel, may soon stop bearing his name.
Trump’s family hotel company has reached an agreement to sell the rights to the famous hotel to an investment group for $375 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
CGI Merchant Group, an investment firm based in Miami, is in contract to buy the hotel lease. The investment firm is now making a deal with Hilton Worldwide Holdings, which will brand and manage the property under Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria group. So Trump’s name will be coming off the hotel.
This sale is no surprise after the Trump Organization began floating the idea back in 2019.
“Since we opened our doors, we have received tremendous interest in this hotel and as real-estate developers, we are always willing to explore our options,” Eric Trump, one of Donald Trump’s sons, said in an October 2019 statement, the WSJ reported.
Originally, however, the company was hoping to get at least $500 million for the lease. So the current $375 million price is a 25 percent markdown from original hopes.
But those high hopes were before the COVID-19 pandemic’s toll on the economy, Trump’s loss in the 2020 election, and the new Democratic House’s committee investigations into Trump’s possible conflicts of interest and emoluments issues.
Trump did face lawsuits over the possibility he violated federal emoluments laws. But after Biden took office, the Supreme Court chucked those cases on the grounds that it was not relevant since he was no longer an elected official, according to The Associated Press.
But the Democratic House did not stop investigations.
In October, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said that the former president concealed the fact his hotel incurred $70 million in net losses.
Trump said the hotel made over $150 million during his time in office.
The House committee also looked into conflicts of interest during his presidency, alleging the hotel made about $3.7 million from foreign officials staying there.
Since the hotel is owned by the federal government (it’s a historic building called the Old Post Office) but was leased out to the Trump Organization for $250,000 per month, the lease stipulated that no elected officials can benefit from the hotel.
The Trump Organization clarified that it did not market the hotel to foreign government officials and that it furthermore wrote checks to the Treasury Department for any money that it did make from foreign dignitaries.
The Trump family was even willing to start talking about a sale due to concerns over conflict of interest.
“People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel, and therefore we may be willing to sell,” Eric Trump said in his 2019 statement.
In 2020, the hotel’s revenue dropped down to $15 million, suffering like many other hotels due to the pandemic.
Despite a downward trend in revenue, if the sale does go through, the Trump Organization will still have turned a significant profit on the hotel since its 2016 opening.
“[I]t appears that the Trumps will gain a considerable profit on the sale,” The New York Times reported.
But the Oversight and Reform Committee is determined to keep looking into the matter, even though the sale to CGI Merchant Group seems to be pending.
A spokeswoman told the WSJ the committee would continue to investigate “conflicts of interest and potential constitutional violations raised by Donald Trump’s lease of this hotel from the federal government while he was President. That won’t be fully resolved by selling off this hotel.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.