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Sunday, October 17, 2021
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Trump’s DC hotel lost millions despite foreign payments

 Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s showcase hotel in Washington bled millions of dollars during his time in office even as he concealed payments from foreign governments, a U.S. House of Representatives panel said on Friday (October 8).

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform said recently obtained government documents raised “troubling” questions about the Trump International Hotel, a historic building the Trump Organization leases from the federal government and a popular gathering spot for his supporters and for foreign dignitaries.

According to the Democratic-controlled committee, Trump reported that the hotel earned him more than $150 million during his time in office but actually lost more than $70 million.

The committee found that the hotel received over $3.7 million in payments from foreign governments – equal to more than 7,400 nights at the hotel, raising a potential conflict of interest.

The hotel gave a portion of that money to the U.S. government but failed to provide full details of those payments to the General Services Administration, the federal government’s property manager, the committee said. Its investigation was based on documents released by the GSA.

Provisions in the U.S. 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 Organization spokeswoman said the committee’s report was inaccurate but did not elaborate.

The GSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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 favorable loan terms from Deutsche Bank AG that financed renovations to the hotel.

The House panel found that Deutsche Bank allowed Trump to delay making payments on the principal of a $170 million loan for six years.

The committee said Trump did not disclose “this significant benefit from a foreign bank” while he was in office.

Deutsche Bank spokesman Daniel Hunter said that was inaccurate, without giving further details.

(Production: Julio-Cesar Chavez; Ashraf Fahim)

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