Trump DC hotel falls millions short of projected revenue in first months

Trump DC hotel falls millions short of projected revenue in first months
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE’s Washington, D.C., hotel made at least $2 million less than projected in its first two months of operation, according to House Democrats citing documents obtained from the General Services Administration (GSA).

Democrats on the House Oversight and Transportation committees revealed the information in a letter sent Monday to GSA Administrator Timothy Horne, in which they asked how the agency planned to handle the alleged breach of the lease on the hotel housed in the Old Post Office, just east of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.

A provision in the lease, signed years before Trump began his presidential campaign, prevents any federal elected official from being included on or benefiting from the lease. The Democrats claim in their letter that Trump’s ascendance to the presidency on Friday is a breach of the lease.

The documents Democrats obtained from the GSA and released Monday show that Trump has a 76.7 percent stake in the hotel. 

The hotel has been a constant source of criticism from Democrats and ethics officials who warn it could be used by foreign governments and businesses to curry favor with the president. Adding to the focus Monday was a lawsuit filed by the left-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington “to stop President Trump from violating the Constitution by illegally receiving payments from foreign governments.”

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“Our hope has always been that President Trump would resolve these breach-of-lease and conflict of interest issues prior to being sworn in as President on January 20,” the Democrats wrote in their Monday letter.

“Unfortunately, President Trump has refused to address these concerns, and taxpayer dollars may now be squandered as career public servants are forced to take remedial action to cure this breach.”

The letter also includes the Trump hotel’s revenue versus estimates from September and October 2016, its first two months of operation.

The Trump hotel made $1,301,000 in revenue in September, though it was projected to make $2,087,000 — meaning it faced a roughly $700,000 shortfall. The hotel made $2,771,000 in revenue in October, compared to a projected $4,276,000. That’s nearly $2.3 million less than projected in total.

The hotel's net loss for September was $334,000 and $825,000 in October. It was estimated to lose $84,000 in September and gain $481,000 in profit in October.

“The possibility that President Trump will profit from large increases in hotel revenues because he was elected President highlights the grave concerns we have raised for months about his conflicts of interest and potential violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution,” wrote the Democrats, citing a clause in the Constitution barring elected officials from receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments.

The Democrats asked Horne if the agency would be notifying Trump that he violated his lease, and questioned how the GSA plans to deal with the alleged breach and how it would handle claims that the Trump Organization failed to pay contractors who worked on the hotel.

The Democrats also asked for copies of correspondence between the GSA and the Trump Organization and transition team.