The Real Deal New York

Trump will breach his Washington hotel lease when he becomes president: Democrats

Lawmakers claim GSA views contract as banning presidential involvement
December 14, 2016 10:24AM

Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Donald Trump may automatically be in breach of the lease for his Washington, D.C. hotel once he is sworn in as president, according to four Democratic congressmen briefed on the matter by the federal General Services Administration.

The GSA manages federally owned real estate including the Old Post Office building, which Donald Trump leased and turned into a luxury hotel that opened this year. A clause in the lease stipulates that no “elected official of the Government of the United States … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

The members of Congress, Elijah Cummings, Peter DeFazio, Gerry Connolly and André Carson, claim that they were told during a briefing “that the GSA reads this provision as we do, which is a categorial ban on the President of the United States or any elected official having any financial interest in this lease or taking any financial benefit from it.”

It’s not clear whether it would be enough for Trump to simply hand over control of hotel and company to his children, as he has indicated he will.

The uncertainty over Trump’s stake in his Washington hotel comes as observers increasingly worry over conflicts of interest between Trump’s presidential administration and his sprawling real estate and entertainment business. Last month, The Real Deal broke down the risks of crony capitalism under Trump.  [WSJ]Konrad Putzier