While we were all distracted by the collapsing Jenga tower that is this current administration and its antics, President Donald Trump got good news Thursday when the General Services Administration said in a letter that the Trump Organization is in “full compliance” with its lease on its Washington, D.C., hotel. GSA oversees the 3-year-old lease on Trump’s luxury five-star Trump International Hotel, which is located just blocks from the White House.
NPR reports that ethics and contracts experts had said that GSA should end the lease because of language in the contract that specifically states 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.”
But GSA contracting officer Kevin Terry wrote that reaching “simplistic ‘black and white’ conclusions regarding the meaning” of the contract’s ban on elected officials was not appropriate. He determined the lease is valid because Trump moved his interests in the building to a revocable trust, which is being managed by Trump’s oldest sons and other associates. Trump is the sole beneficiary of that trust.
Terry led contract negotiations with Trump in 2013. In his letter Thursday, Terry said the property had been a money loser for the federal government before Trump landed the lease. The Trump Organization has been paying $250,000 a month in rent since it signed the lease, according to Terry.
As NPR reports, the building Trump’s hotel is in is the former headquarters of the U.S. Post Office, and Trump signed a 60-year lease on the building in 2013. The Trump Organization opened the hotel a month before the Nov. 8 election, after having spent nearly $200 million on renovations.
I am not a mathematician or anything, but $250,000 a month in rent is $3 million a year, which sounds like an awfully sweet deal for something someone spent $200 million to renovate. Can’t imagine that a good businessman would spend that kind of money unless he was sure he would get it back.
I say that GSA gave the president the hookup.
Read more at NPR.