Like many investments in the portfolio of the former president’s business, the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., has been a financial burden for the Trump Organization. Despite bilking American taxpayers by forcing the Secret Service to pay for rooms in the hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, the pandemic hit the hotel hard. Last April, just after the business bailed on an attempt to sell the hotel because of the pandemic, the Trump Organization asked the Trump administration if any form of rent relief was possible; the business had signed a 60-year lease for the Old Post Office Pavilion owned by the federal government, and its executives hoped they could get a break on their $268,000 monthly payment.
No relief came, and in January 2021, the Trump Organization faced a setback when its broker, JLL, backed out in the wake of the Capitol riot a mile down the National Mall. But with legal pressure and financial obligations mounting, the business is trying to get out of the lease again. According to the Washington Post, they have found a brokerage firm willing to work with them to unload the lease in a much more friendly real-estate market. The Newmark Group, a real-estate firm large enough to be listed on the NASDAQ, will now represent the former president’s business as they try to sell to a new operator, who would likely try to get rid of the Trump name in a city in which it is a profound liability.
The potential sale comes in the aftermath of an insurrection that caused several major partners to sever their ties with the Trump Organization. It’s also taking place at the same time that Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance leads a criminal inquiry into the firm to determine if there were any actions that constituted fraud. As the Washington Post notes, it’s not yet clear if the “D.C. hotel will be a factor in Vance’s investigation into Trump’s business.” While the property hasn’t been named as a target in the district attorney’s investigation — or a related inquiry led by New York attorney general Letitia James — The Wall Street Journal did report in late May that Vance’s office was investigating the D.C. hotel.
It’s not guaranteed that the Trump Organization will sell if it finds a buyer. After all, it remains to be seen if the former president’s name is as poisonous in the private sector as it was earlier this year. (The fact they were able to attract a new broker suggests the heat may have cooled a little.) And if they get any interest, the new mark needs to offer an enticing package, which may not be coming either. In November 2020, the Trump Organization paused the sale after bids came in at less than half the $500 million asking price for the underperforming hotel.