Trump’s Washington hotel lost millions despite foreign payments – US House Panel

The Trump International Hotel is seen in Washington, USA on September 28, 2020. REUTERS / Erin Scott

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (Reuters) – Former US President Donald Trump’s Washington Showcase Hotel – a popular gathering place for supporters and foreign dignitaries – has bled millions of dollars during his tenure even as he was hiding payments from foreign governments, a House of Representatives panel said on Friday.

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

According to the Democrat-controlled committee, Trump reported that the hotel earned him over $ 150 million during his tenure, but actually lost over $ 70 million.

The committee found that the hotel had received over $ 3.7 million in payments from foreign governments, roughly the equivalent of over 7,400 hotel nights, posing a conflict of interest potential.

The hotel gave some of that money to the U.S. government but did not 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.

The provisions of the United States Constitution prohibit the President from obtaining payments, or “emoluments,” from foreign governments.

Trump’s lawyers have argued in court that his hotel ownership does not violate these constitutional provisions.

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The GSA, likewise, did not immediately respond.

Congressional Democrats say the GSA blocked their investigation into Trump’s companies while he was in power, but in July 2021 it finally produced some of the documents they were seeking.

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

The committee also found that he had hidden debts when he bid for the use of the property in 2011 and did not disclose what he said were favorable loan terms from Deutsche Bank AG which funded the hotel renovations.

A representative for Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the matter.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Alistair Bell

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