Trump Organization receives $534K rental credit for maintaining DC clock tower: report

Trump Organization receives $534K rental credit for maintaining DC clock tower: report
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The General Services Administration (GSA) has granted the Trump Organization $534,000 in rental credit for its Washington, D.C., hotel for maintaining the building's historic clock tower.

Federal officials told The Washington Post on Friday that the Trump Organization earned the credit for supporting “security, utilities and janitorial services” in order to host tours of the clock tower, which are overseen by the National Park Service.

The company pays about $3 million yearly for the Trump International Hotel's rent, which is housed in the federal Old Post Office Pavilion.

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The GSA's agreement with the Trump Organization states that the federal government is responsible for paying back costs to maintain the historic building for tour use, “either directly to Tenant or via a Rent credit," according to the Post.

Leasing experts told the newspaper that it was difficult to say whether the $534,000 figure, which represented 2017 and a portion of 2016, was justified.

GSA officials told the Post that they were unable to provide a breakdown of the rent credit's calculations for the newspaper by the end of business hours this week.

“The amount in rent that the tenant has paid to GSA is in accordance and compliance with the terms and conditions of the lease," GSA spokeswoman Pamela Dixon said.

The agreement represents another example critics have cited as a possible conflict of interest. 

“It’s hard to imagine a more stark, compelling or blatant conflict of interest," Steven Schooner, a George Washington University professor of government procurement, told the Post. Schooner, according to the paper, has advocated for the hotel lease to be voided since Trump was elected.

Trump has faced criticism for not fully divesting from his businesses since he took office last year. The president, instead, placed his businesses into a trust controlled by his sons, though he is still the sole beneficiary. Critics argue that the move is not enough, as Trump is still not able to disentangle himself completely from knowing about his organization's business dealings.

A federal judge ruled last week that a lawsuit alleging Trump's use of his personal businesses violates the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution could go forward after it was filed by several state attorneys general last year.

Updated: Aug. 4 at 12 p.m.