GSA official who cleared Trump’s DC hotel called potential conflicts of interest “nonsense”

Critics say it shows the GSA didn't take the ethical concerns about the lease seriously

TRD New York /
Jul.July 03, 2017 12:47 PM

The General Services Administration employee who allowed President Trump to keep his lease at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., previously described potential conflicts of interest as “nonsense,” released emails have now revealed.

The GSA’s Kevin Terry wrote to the Trump Organization in March to inform it that the D.C. hotel, which is on government land, is in “full compliance” with lease requirements that no government official be involved with or benefit from the contract. Ethics experts still argue the president’s company is overseeing a contract that financially benefits Trump while in office, even if he doesn’t get any of that money until he leaves office.

However, emails obtained by Bloomberg show that days after Trump’s election win, Terry forwarded a BuzzFeed article referring to the potential conflict of interest to the Trump Organization. In the email he wrote “FYI – A fair amount of nonsense.” The email also went to two other GSA employees, according to the publication. The email was released following a Freedom of Information request from a member of the public, and the recipient of the email was redacted. The request was for communications between Terry and Trump’s children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

Following Terry’s decision about the hotel, a coalition of ethicists, government watchdog groups and liberal organizations wrote to the GSA inspector general to ask for a review. Representatives of some of the groups told Bloomberg that the revelation of Terry’s email would strengthen their case.

The email shows that “very early on GSA didn’t take the potential of a conflict of interest very seriously,” Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight, told the publication.

The Trump Organization is reportedly looking for a second location for a D.C. hotel, as part of a plan to expand its Scion brand. [Bloomberg]Miriam Hall


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Make Greenland Great Again? Trump wants to buy Arctic territory

Make Greenland Great Again? Trump wants to buy Arctic territory

Make Greenland Great Again? Trump wants to buy Arctic territory
Hamptons’ priciest summer rental to host MAGA extravaganza next month

Hamptons’ priciest summer rental to host MAGA extravaganza next month

Hamptons’ priciest summer rental to host MAGA extravaganza next month
Photo illustration of Ryan Serhant and  22-43 Jackson Avenue (Getty, Trader Joe's) 

Trader Joe’s to open in LIC early next year

Trader Joe’s to open in LIC early next year
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Dr. Oxiris Barbot (Getty, iStock)

Day care — and its landlords — get a lifeline

Day care — and its landlords — get a lifeline
Shawn Mobley (left), is being replaced by Andrew McDonald (right) as CEO of the Americas at Cushman

Shakeup at Cushman: Mobley out, McDonald promoted

Shakeup at Cushman: Mobley out, McDonald promoted
(iStock)

To survive, NYC retailers are treating average Joe’s like they’re rich

To survive, NYC retailers are treating average Joe’s like they’re rich
From left: Gaw Capital Partners’ Goodwin Gaw, Howard Lorber of New Valley Group, Oyo CEO Ritesh Agarwal, Soho House's Ron Burkle, and Steven Witkoff of Witkoff Group (Getty)

TRD Insights: These hotel businesses got big PPP funding

TRD Insights: These hotel businesses got big PPP funding
The financing deal comes after AMC theaters have been shuttered for months due to the coronavirus pandemic. (iStock)

AMC nears deal to avoid bankruptcy

AMC nears deal to avoid bankruptcy
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...