Donald Trump hotel 'makes $420,000 selling access to President-elect for New Year's Eve party'

Hundreds of tickets were reportedly sold at an average of £447 each to the event at the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago resort

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The Independent US

A hotel resort owned by Donald Trump is reported to have made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling tickets to a New Year’s party attended by the President-elect amid mounting concerns about potential conflicts of interests affecting the next administration.

Mar-a-Lago, the Trump-owned members-only luxury resort in Florida’s Palm Beach, which each year sells tickets to flashy parties it throws on holidays and special occasions, reportedly held a cocktail hour on Saturday night, followed by dinner and dancing until 1am, with the chance to meet Mr Trump during the event.

On Friday, Mr Trump’s incoming White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, told a press conference the party was already “sold out”, with more than 800 people scheduled to attend – amounting to ticket proceeds of around $420,000. 

An anonymous source who travels in Palm Beach society circles said tickets to the party were being sold at $525 each for members and $575 each for guests – an average of £448 per ticket – according to Politico.

Mr Trump’s transition team declined to comment on the ticket prices.

Incoming White House Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks rejected criticisms that Mar-a-Lago was selling access to the President-elect. Ms Hicks is reported to have said: “The transition is not concerned about the appearance of a conflict. 

“This is an annual celebratory event at the private club, like others that have continued to occur since the election. Additionally, the president [sic] cannot and does not have a conflict.”

It could raise further questions about the President-elect’s businesses and how they might be used by people as a way to gain access to his administration when he gains power later this month.

When faced with questions about the conflicts of interest presented by his businesses in the US and abroad, Mr Trump said he planned to delegate the management of his enterprises to his two adult sons, building what he said was a clear wall between his private business and public power.

But the following day, his children had seats at the table of one of his biggest policy meetings yet attended by the country’s top tech-industry elites and Mr Trump’s cabinet nominees, heightening concerns that Trump business entanglements could still steer his presidential policy.

Mr Trump also announced plans to dissolve a controversial foundation established in his name, but officials said he cannot do so while it was the subject of criminal investigation.

But this has failed to satisfy critics, who demand instead that he divest his assets to remove any conflicts of interest.

In December it was revealed Mr Trump had a £244m conflict of interest with Deutsche Bank, which is under investigation on several fronts by the US Department of Justice. 

The bank is trying to restructure some of Trump’s roughly $300m debt as part of an attempt to reduce any conflict of interest between the loan and his presidency, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

Zephyr Teachout, an academic and activist who has written about corruption in American politics, recently said she believed Mr Trump may be the “most corruptible president” to date