Trump hotel lost millions despite foreign payments, House panel says

Washington: Former US president Donald Trump’s showcase hotel in Washington – a popular gathering spot for supporters and foreign dignitaries – bled millions of dollars during his time in office even as he concealed payments from foreign governments, a US House of Representatives panel said.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform said recently obtained government documents raise “troubling” questions about the Trump International Hotel, which is in a historic building the Trump Organisation leases from the federal government.

The Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.Credit:AP

According to the Democratic-controlled committee, Trump reported that the hotel earned him more than $US150 million ($205 million) during his time in office, but actually lost more than $US70 million.

The committee found that the hotel received more than $US3.7 million in payments from foreign governments – roughly equal to more than 7400 nights at the hotel, posing a potential conflict of interest.

The hotel gave a portion of that money to the US government but failed to provide full details of those payments to the GSA, the committee said.

The committee’s investigation was based on documents released by the General Services Administration, the US government agency that manages federal properties.

Provisions in the US Constitution prohibit the president from obtaining payments, or “emoluments,” from foreign governments.

Trump’s lawyers have argued in court cases that his ownership of the hotel did not violate these constitutional provisions.

A Trump Organisation spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday, local time. The GSA, likewise, did not immediately respond.

Congressional Democrats say the GSA stonewalled their investigation into Trump’s businesses while he was in office, but in July 2021 finally produced some of the documents they had been seeking.

The committee found that Trump moved millions of dollars through other businesses, complicating GSA’s ability to enforce provisions that prohibited him from collecting profits from the hotel.

The committee also found that he concealed debts when he was bidding for use of the property in 2011 and failed to disclose what it said were favourable loan terms from Deutsche Bank AG that financed renovations to the hotel.

A Deutsche Bank representative decline to comment on the record.

Reuters

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