The Real Deal New York

Trump fights DC over hotel tax assessment

President-elect will soon be both de facto landlord and tenant at conversion of Old Post Office building

November 17, 2016 09:18AM

Donald Trump and the Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Donald Trump and the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

President-elect Donald Trump is back in court seeking a refund for property taxes paid at his hotel conversion of the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C.

Trump refiled his lawsuit Monday in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia after a previous lawsuit initiated in June was dismissed last month, Bloomberg reported.

The court allowed Trump to file separate petitions for each of the tax lots comprising his conversion of the federal building on Pennsylvania Avenue five blocks from the White House into the 263-key Trump International Hotel.

Trump ground-leased the property for 60 years from the federal government, which means that once he is inaugurated he will be both landlord (through the General Services Administration, whose administrator will be appointed by Trump) and tenant of the property, just one of many potential conflicts of interest he faces as president. To muddy things even further, Trump will play a role in appointing judges to the Superior Court when vacancies arise.

In order to avoid other conflicts associated with his companies, Trump has said he’ll turn his business over to his children by the time he steps into office.

According to the lawsuit, the District of Columbia incorrectly assed the property as a “fully functional and rent-producing commercial office building” before the $200 million renovation was complete.

The District assessed the property at $98.2 million for the 2015 tax year, though upon initial appeal the value was reduced to $91.7 million.

Trump claimed that while similar properties were assessed at roughly 100 percent of the estimated market value, his hotel was assessed in excess of that. The assessed value is higher than the average room assessment for fully operational hotels in the District such as the Mandarin Oriental, the St. Regis and the Ritz-Carlton, the lawsuit claims. [Bloomberg]Rich Bockmann

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