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Why Trump Is Mulling a $500M For-Sale Sign

The Trump International Hotel might hit the market amid concern over emoluments
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2019 2:30 PM CDT
In this Jan. 23, 2019, file photo, the Trump International Hotel near sunset in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(Newser) – President Trump's real estate company might unload a palatial hotel over complaints that government-ethics laws are being cast aside, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Trump Organization has hired a real estate firm to let go of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, where Trump and other White House officials often dine and visit. Asking price: over $500 million, or $2 million per room, for leasing rights that extend nearly 100 years. This as Democrats, watchdog groups, and the inspector general of the General Services Administration—a federal agency that leases the hotel—raise red flags about the president possibly receiving "emoluments," or things of value beyond his government paycheck.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court said last month that plaintiffs (like competitors of Trump's restaurants and hotels) can make legal claims against his businesses, per USA Today. And House committees led by Democrats are looking into possible emoluments problems involving Trump. "I'm skeptical that this latest development isn't an attempt to make a massive profit that directly benefits the Trump family, so I will be following this marketing attempt closely," says Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon. Eric Trump doesn't deny it's an issue: "People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel, and therefore we may be willing to sell," he says. Profits at the hotel increased by roughly $400,000 to $40.8 million in 2018. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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