December 14, 2016

GSA Says Trump Must Fully Divest Ownership of D.C. Hotel to Avoid Breach


Washington, D.C. (Dec. 13, 2016)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Peter DeFazio, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Rep. AndrĂ© Carson, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, sent a letter to the General Services Administration (GSA) after it provided a briefing in response to a letter sent by the Ranking Members on November 30, 2016, raising concerns about the imminent breach and conflicts of interest with President-elect Donald Trump’s lease for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.


In their letter, the Ranking Members thank the GSA Administrator for making available the Deputy Commissioner of GSA’s Public Buildings Service, who confirmed GSA’s position on the lease.  They wrote:


“Most importantly, the Deputy Commissioner informed our staff that GSA assesses that Mr. Trump will be in breach of the lease agreement the moment he takes office on January 20, 2017, unless he fully divests himself of all financial interests in the lease for the Washington D.C. hotel.  The Deputy Commissioner made clear that Mr. Trump must divest himself not only of managerial control, but of all ownership interest as well.”


The letter explains that GSA received no communications from Mr. Trump or his associates about this imminent breach after he won the Republican nomination or after he was elected President:


“In fact, the Deputy Commissioner informed our staffs that GSA has received no communications to date from Mr. Trump’s business organization about this issue.  This raises serious questions about how Mr. Trump plans to proceed.”


The letter also raises serious concerns about conflicts of interest that already exist and may become even more exacerbated going forward, including that the top official from Mr. Trump’s business organization that GSA has been working with on the lease is Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.  The Ranking Members wrote:


“In other words, Ms. Trump is all of the following—the President-elect’s daughter, a top presidential transition team official, a lessee under the contract GSA oversees, and the primary contact for GSA on the lease.  The conflicts of interest are obvious.”


The Ranking Members requested copies of unredacted documents, including exhibits to the lease that list the ownership of the leasing corporate entity; monthly expense and profit projections; and legal memos regarding the potential conflict of interest arising from Mr. Trump having an ownership interest in the hotel and serving as President.


Click here and see below to read today’s letter.