Representatives for the Trump Organization and the General Services Administration, which manages the lease, did not immediately return requests for comment. The Post could not immediately confirm that the companies had signed a contract.
An investment firm whose investors include former Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez, CGI Merchant announced a fund last year through which it acquires hotels and partners with McLean, Va.-based Hilton Worldwide to operate them.
Hilton attempted to win the Old Post Office deal originally, partnering with a different investment group to turn the building into a Waldorf Astoria, but lost out when the GSA selected the Trump bid. Hilton did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday evening.
Trump’s company beat out other competitors to win the lease by offering to spend more than $200 million to redevelop the building, transforming it from federal offices and a food court into a 263-room luxury hotel with one of the largest ballrooms in the city. Trump, then two years from entering the 2016 presidential race, oversaw the development along with his daughter Ivanka Trump.
At the time, the project symbolized the ambitions of Trump’s small luxury hotel chain. The Trump Organization scoffed at rivals who said it paid too much and would never make money.
“I mean, we are paying too much for the Old Post Office,” Trump told The Post in 2012. “But we will make that so amazing that at some point in the future it’ll be very nice.”
After Trump won the presidency, however, the property almost immediately became a lightning rod for controversy and litigation. Foreign leaders, Republican groups and companies seeking government approvals spent millions there, and ethics experts and Democrats repeatedly sued the company, alleging it was violating the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, which bars the president from accepting gifts or payments from foreign leaders. None of the cases produced a ruling against Trump or his company.
Despite the property’s popularity with Republicans holding fundraisers and other conservative clients, so many other potential clients stayed away that the hotel lost $71 million during the years Trump was in office, according to documents released by the House Oversight Committee.
Trump’s company tried to sell the lease for the hotel in 2019, as soon as its contract with the GSA allowed. But when the coronavirus pandemic struck, crushing the hotel business for months, the company pulled the hotel off the market.
Though the agreement allows Trump to sell the lease, the sale requires the approval of the GSA, which receives $3 million in base rent annually, plus increases tied to inflation. The GSA could also be entitled to a cut of profits, depending on how much the lease sells for, according to the lease terms.
Trump’s company remains under investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D). A grand jury — convened this spring in Manhattan — returned felony indictments against two Trump companies and Trump’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, charging them with tax evasion. Weisselberg and the companies pleaded not guilty.
Vance’s office recently convened a second grand jury to hear evidence about the Trump Organization’s financial practices and potentially to vote on criminal charges. The seating of the new grand jury does not signal that any other Trump entities or executives will be charged. The second grand jury could end its term without indicting anyone.
Members of the Trump family say that the investigations are politically motivated and that the company has not committed any violations.
Shayna Jacobs and David A. Fahrenthold contributed to this report.