Trump Organization formally notifies GSA of plans to sell DC hotel

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., is seen on June 3
Greg Nash

The Trump Organization has formally notified the General Services Administration (GSA) of its plans to sell its hotel in Washington, D.C., one month after reports surfaced that the company had reached an agreement to sell the rights to the property for hundreds of millions of dollars.

A spokesperson for the GSA told The Hill that the agency “has been formally notified of the proposed transfer and is committed to conducting a thorough review to ensure compliance with all legal and contractual requirements.”

The GSA’s announcement comes one month after a number of news organizations reported that the Trump Organization had reached a $375 million agreement with CGI Merchant Group, a Miami-based investment firm, to lease the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

CGI Merchant Group also reportedly entered into a deal with Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. to rebrand the facility and remove the Trump name from the property. Once the deal goes through, Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria group will preside over the property.

The sale is expected to be completed by early next year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The GSA, however, is now tasked with reviewing and approving the details of the agreement before it can go through. The agency has to make sure that the buyer is qualified because the transaction involves federal property — Trump’s hotel is located in the Old Post Office, which is owned by the federal government.

The GSA has 45 days to review the terms of the deal and determine if the buyer is qualified. That review period will begin once the agency has been given all the information it needs to review if the presumptive buyer qualifies.

The GSA will discern if the proposed buyer is a qualified transferee based on a number of tenets, including if the company will use the property as a luxury hotel, if it is authorized to do business in Washington, D.C., if it has a good business reputation and if it has demonstrated success in owning and operating a high-quality, full service hotel.

Additionally, the GSA will determine if the proposed buyer has sufficient capacity to oversee properties that are historically significant; if it has a sufficient financial capacity, financial condition and operating capacity; and if it has a specific minimum access to liquidity.

The Trump Organization opened the hotel, which is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, in 2016.

News that the company is taking additional steps to sell its hotel comes as the House Oversight and Reform Committee is examining potential conflicts of interest connected to Trump, and potential matters related to emoluments, according to the Journal.

The committee is also scrutinizing how the GSA managed the lease for the hotel. The deal was made before Trump announced he was running for president, but the committee is still reportedly looking into how Trump managed potential conflicts of interest when he was serving as president.

Democrats have asserted that Trump hid a significant amount of debt during the GSA’s initial bidding process for the hotel and falsely cushioned his finances by omitting loan balances that he owned for his estates in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York and San Francisco.

They have also contended that Deutsche Bank showed Trump special treatment by letting him put off some payments for the $170 million loan on the hotel.

Trump and the organization, however, have argued that they did not do anything wrong.


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