Donald Trump's DC Hotel Grifted So Hard, Still Lost Money. How Is That Even Fair?
Poor Donald Trump just can't seem to catch a break. He's the Rodney Dangerfield of bad business decisions, although with the crucial distinction that Dangerfield was loved and respected. What we're getting at is that new documents released by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform today show that while Trump's Washington DC hotel took in a metric assload of foreign money, the hotel nonetheless lost more than $70 million while Trump was pretending to be president. We are so torn up over this that we may just have to eat some more ice cream, with sprinkles this time.
The Washington Post has the very sad details, which should not be cause for schadenfreude at all:
The committee, chaired by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), released hundreds of pages of financial documents on the property Friday that it received from the General Services Administration, the agency that leased the federally owned property to Trump's company beginning in 2013.
Maloney and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) allege the documents show that Trump received an estimated $3.7 million from foreign governments and received preferential treatment from Deutsche Bank when the bank allowed Trump to defer payments for six years on the principal of the property's $170 million loan.
The findings "raise new and troubling questions about former President Trump's lease with GSA and the agency's ability to manage the former President's conflicts of interest during his term in office when he was effectively on both sides of the contract, as landlord and tenant," the two Democrats said in a news release.
Maloney and Connolly sent a long letter today to Robin Carnahan, the GSA's administrator, detailing the findings and asking her to investigate further. Presumably, that investigation would look primarily at whether any laws or federal rules were broken, leaving derision of Trump's business acumen to the press and late-night talk shows.
The Post's Jonathan O'Connell and David Fahrenthold take care to remind us that in 2019, well before the pandemic borked the hotel and travel industry, they reported that Trump's DC hotel only managed to keep its rooms about half occupied. Seems the rightwing groups and GOP supporters who stayed there to demonstrate their love for Trump couldn't offset losses from travelers who preferred to stay somewhere not associated with the Trump name, like a Marriott, Hilton, or Bates property.
O'Connell and Fahrenthold also note the new documents show that "Trump's company had to inject the hotel with more than $24 million in cash from his company's coffers to offset losses." No wonder he was so eager to host the G-7 summit at his Florida trash palace.
Trump hasn't even managed yet to unload the lease on the DC hotel. The Trump Organization announced in late 2019 that it intended to sell the lease, but then the pandemic hit and the hotel came off the market. But maybe after the company spent $200 million renovating the Old Post Office into a luxury hotel, Trump will finally get some good news?
Trump's company has previously floated $500 million as a possible target price. Industry experts say it is worth well short of that, but that top luxury hotel chains are likely to be interested in taking over the property and marketing it to a wider audience than Trump was able to given his politics.
That seems likely. And just the minute a new owner announces the place is finally profitable, Trump will issue a statement saying that proves the hotel was perfect all along, but it was sabotaged by his enemies.
Still, this is great news for Donald Trump. Now he can argue that he's such a shitty businessman that he can't possibly have violated the Constitution's ban on foreign emoluments.
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