Five blocks from the White House, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. was a watering hole for the president’s supporters and an easy way for the businessman to bilk the Secret Service. But with the final sale of the hotel from the Trump Organization to the Miami-based CGI Merchant Group for a reported $375 million (which does not include the 60-year lease), it’s just going to be operated as another Waldorf Astoria.
Since it opened in September 2016 until its closure this week was reported by the New York Times, the hotel has been a 263-room monument to the practice of conflicting interests. Housed inside the renovated Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Trump Organization leased the building from the General Services Administration, which forbade an elected official from benefitting from the property. But for his entire presidency, Trump refused to divest from the family business. Between 2017 and 2019, the hotel raked in over $350,000 from officials of foreign governments staying there, suggesting the potential for influence from abroad. A considerable sum was also spent by conservative lobbyists for domestic groups staying there — including $270,000 reportedly funneled to a veterans group unwittingly lobbying on the behalf of Saudi Arabia. Just days ago, the Trump Organization and his inaugural committee paid $750,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the attorney general for the District of Columbia, who alleged that one Trump group paid another over $1 million to rent out space at an above-market rate.
The sale will hand the ever-embattled Trump Organization a pretty nice chunk of change. The New York Times reports that the business will make a $100 million profit after paying off debts accrued during its operation. According to the House Oversight Committee, which investigated the GSA’s management of the lease, the Trump Organization lost $70 million running the hotel during his time in office.