Ivanka Trump's landlord suing US government: report

Ivanka Trump's landlord suing US government: report
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Ivanka Trump is renting a Washington, D.C., home from a Chilean billionaire whose company is locked in a legal struggle with the U.S. government, according to a new report.

Andrónico Luksic controls the company that owns the residence Trump and her husband Jared Kushner share in D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood, the Wall Street Journal said Wednesday.

Rodrigo Terré, a relative of Luksic’s who manages the businessman’s finances, confirmed to the Journal that Trump’s home belongs to Tracy DC Real Estate Inc.

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Tracy DC purchased the six-bedroom property in late December for $5.5 million, according to public records and interviews.

Terré said Luksic’s company purchased the house as an investment, adding that its rental to Trump and Kushner is coincidental.

Ivanka Trump is President Trump’s elder daughter, and Kushner is a senior adviser to his father-in-law in the White House.

Terré said the couple was paying “absolute market value” in rent, but declined to disclose the exact amount.

He said “categorically” there are no ties between the rental and Luksic’s legal dispute with the U.S. government, noting that neither himself nor the billionaire had met their tenants.

A White House spokesman told the Journal that Trump and Kushner were paying “fair market” value, and said Luksic’s U.S. business interests were unknown to the couple at the start of their rental.

Trump and Kushner have never met with or spoken to Luksic, the White House added, and his issues with the U.S. government have not previously come up.

Forbes estimates that Luksic’s family is among the wealthiest in Chile, controlling a banking, mining and industrial empire worth an estimated $13.1 billion.

A U.S. unit of the Luksic family’s mining company, Antofagasta PLC, is fighting the U.S. government and environmental groups over a proposed mine in Minnesota.

The tentative project would sit on U.S. Forest Service land adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the Journal said, a 1.1 million tract of land protected by the federal government in 1926.

Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, which is Luksic’s American unit, sued the U.S. government in September in a Minnesota federal court.

The Journal added the lawsuit stemmed from a preliminary move by the Interior Department to block renewal of two mineral leases.

The Obama administration ultimately denied both leases in December, with Interior citing possible “serious and irreplaceable harm to this unique, iconic and irreplaceable wilderness area.”

Twin Metals said in a February court filing that areas it leases contain “one of the largest untapped copper and nickel resources in the world.”

“[It is] conservatively estimated at more than $40 billion of in-ground mineral value,” the company said.

Twin Metals and some Minnesota politicians are now urging the Trump administration to reverse the decision, the Journal said, citing potential job growth.

The Justice Department has since asked the court for a 60-day delay in the case to allow “time to brief incoming administration officials” on its details.

“It is something we are actively reviewing,” an Interior spokeswoman said.

Critics have frequently argued the Trump family’s vast business empire may present a conflict of interest to the president and his administration.