It looks like President Donald Trump will be able to keep his hotel situated near the White House after all. The General Services Administration (GSA) has recently ruled that the tenant is in “full compliance” of the law with the regard to the lease of the Old Post Office in Washington, DC.
This is mainly because Trump has managed to “assign all of his interests” in the Trump Old Post Office Member Corporation to DJT Holdings Managing Member LLC. At the same time, Trump had also resigned from any officer, director, manager, employee or other official roles in the company.
GSA ruling disappoints oversight committees.
Following GSA’s decision, Both Reps. Elijah E. Cummings and Peter DeFazio both protested the ruling. The ranking Democrats on the House Government Oversight and House Transportation and Infrastructure committees, respectively, said the GSA simply change its stance when Trump took office.
“This new interpretation renders this lease provision completely meaningless—any elected official can now defy the restriction by following this blueprint,” their statement asserted. According to them, they had received a letter from GSA’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Service Buildings back in December. It said, “Mr. Trump will be in breach of the lease agreement the moment he takes office on January 20, 2017.”
GSA had long needed a tenant for the Old Post Office.
The Old Post Office and Annex Building is considered to be “one of the most significant historic assets” in the GSA’s portfolio of public buildings. However, the federal agency has failed to secure capital investments in the building in order to “preserve its historic integrity.”
Trump Organization started paying lease even before the hotel opened.
Back in September 2013, the federal agency had announced that it completed a deal in which the Old Post Office would be leased by a private sector partner for 60 years. According to its previous statement, the Trump Organization had planned to “preserve the building and convert it into a hotel.”
According to the GSA documents, the Trump Organization had started paying $250,000 a month to GSA for the lease before it opened the hotel. When the hotel official opened, the Trump Organization had already given the GSA and taxpayers as much as $5.1 million.