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House committee seeks financial records for Trump’s Washington hotel

The Trump International Hotel, at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in Washington, was leased to the former president’s company before he was elected. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
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A House committee on Tuesday asked the Biden administration to provide detailed financial records on former president Donald Trump’s Washington hotel — which is located in a federally owned building and must give the government financial data as part of its lease.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees public buildings, first asked for records on the hotel in early 2019. But for two years — while Trump’s administration was the Trump International Hotel’s landlord — the government refused to hand them over.

Read the letter: House Committee asks for financial records on Trump’s D.C. Hotel

Now, the committee has asked Biden’s administration to provide what Trump’s would not, including detailed records on the hotel’s revenue, expenses, profits and losses.

Those records, if made public, would reveal the inner workings of a hotel that became an icon of Trump’s era — a place where the sitting president’s company could be paid by foreign governments, Republican allies and companies with business before the Trump administration.

They could also reveal what has happened since Trump left office, as the coronavirus pandemic and the Democratic takeover of Washington caused the hotel’s bustling lobby to empty out.

The House committee, led by Chairman Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), asked whether the General Services Administration, which handled the lease, had reevaluated its relationship with Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the nearby Capitol by Trump supporters.

“Is GSA contemplating or considering examining whether former president Trump and/or the Trump Organization should be prevented from contracting with the federal government in the future?” the committee asked.

It also asked the GSA to provide any financial statements that Trump had provided to Deutsche Bank while he was seeking a $170 million loan to renovate the hotel. Trump’s use of such “Statements of Financial Condition” is now under scrutiny by the New York attorney general — who is asking whether Trump misled potential lenders by inflating his assets.

Trump won a federal contract to overhaul the Old Post Office Building, located on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol, into a hotel in 2013. The hotel opened in 2016, just weeks before Trump was elected president.

The lease runs 60 years. Trump’s company pays the government $3 million in annual rent plus a share of any profits above an undisclosed threshold.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), the chair of a subcommittee that oversees the hotel, signed the letter along with DeFazio. She said that, even with Trump out of office, the House is still determined to find out how the hotel was run and whether Trump was given any undue benefits while he was effectively his own landlord.

“I’m not going to let go of it,” Titus said. She said the hotel is a federally owned asset, and she wants to see whether it’s being well cared for.

“It’s still taxpayer dollars that are at risk,” Titus said. If the hotel’s business goes south, she said, “We don’t want taxpayers to get left holding the bag.”

The letter asks the GSA to provide the documents by March 30.

The Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday. At the GSA, a spokeswoman said the agency was reviewing the letter. “GSA is committed to collaboration with our partners on the Hill,” the spokeswoman said.

So far, the only glimpse into the GSA’s data on the hotel came in 2017, when records obtained by The Washington Post showed the hotel had turned a $2 million profit during the busy four months around Trump’s inauguration.

Since then, however, its fortunes appear to have soured. The New York Times reported last year that it had obtained tax records showing that Trump’s D.C. hotel had lost $55.5 million as of 2018. The hotel’s lease was put up for sale in 2019, but the sale was canceled after the pandemic began.

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