Donald Trump agrees to sell controversial Washington DC hotel to company that plans to change its name

The property proved both politically controversial and financially troubled during the Trump administration

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Monday 15 November 2021 04:21
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'Rapist in the White House' projected onto Donald Trump's Washington DC hotel
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Donald Trump has agreed to sell his famous Washington, DC, hotel to an outside company, which plans to remove the Trump name from the building and turn it over to the Hilton group for management, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The hotel is selling to the Miami-based investment firm CGI Merchant Group for $375m, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the deal.CGI reportedly intends to have Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc’s Waldorf Astoria group manage the property.

The Trump Organization won the rights to lease the building, a federal property, in 2012, but the Trump International Hotel turned into a political and financial boondoggle of sorts for the eventual president.The hotel for a time became a hot gathering spot for Republican politicians, lobbyists, and other executives hoping to become closer to the Trump orbit or get the ear of top officials.

It was criticised by ethics experts for raking in millions from foreign governments sending their personnel to stay there, while on the business side, the hotel reportedly lost $70m between 2016 and 2020, though the Trump Organization disputes these findings.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is currently conducting a conflict of interest probe of the Trump Organization’s lease on the building, which is owned by the federal government.

The Trumps beat out top hoteliers like Marriott and Hilton to take over the property, promising to spend $200m renovating the former post office. The Trump Organization says the Trump International Hotel generated $150m in revenue while Mr Trump was in office.

A group of ethics experts sued Mr Trump in 2017 over his ongoing stake in the hotel, alleging that he had violated the US Constitution’s bans on reaping business gains from an official position and calling it “four years of ... pervasive corruption.” Democratic lawmakers and the attorney generals of Washington DC and Maryland lodge similar legal actions against Mr Trump.The case made its way to the US Supreme Court, which dismissed the suit.

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