Trump Organization said to be weighing sale of D.C. hotel lease thumbnail

Trump Organization said to be weighing sale of D.C. hotel lease

President Trump’s company is considering selling the lease of its D.C. hotel, according to two people familiar with the discussions.The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans they were not permitted to make public, said the Trump Organization had hired the firm JLL to market the project.Trump’s Washington hotel has been a center of controversy since he entered office. Trump continues to own his business, which operates properties including the hotel, leading to charges of conflict of interest. Several lawsuits have alleged that Trump is violating the Constitution’s ban on “emoluments,” or payments by foreign governments, when foreign government officials visit the hotel.The company leases the building, the Old Post Office Pavilion, from the federal government’s General Services Administration (GSA), but the terms allow for the sale of the lease under certain conditions. The Trumps are trying to sell the lease at the earliest they are allowed. According to lease documents, the Trumps were not allowed to sell their interest until three years after the hotel’s opening date, which was Oct. 26, 2016. Trump’s son Eric Trump told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the sale, that, “People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel, and therefore we may be willing to sell.” Officials from the Trump Organization and JLL declined to comment.The president recently referred to the issue of whether foreign spending at the hotel violates the Constitution as “the phony emoluments clause.” His statement was part of a discussion about his decision to hold the 2020 Group of Seven summit of world leaders at his Trump National Doral Miami golf resort in Florida. Days after announcing that plan, the White House reversed course after criticism from across the political spectrum.Opening weeks before Trump won the 2016 election, the hotel has become a popular place for customers and clients aligned with the president’s politics and a go-to place for Republican campaigns to hold fundraisers, Christian groups to hold conventions and conservative authors to host book parties. Members of Trump’s Cabinet have often been spotted there, and Trump has visited there 23 times as president, according to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.But the property has also suffered from the unwillingness of many mainstream corporations, embassies and associations to book business there, narrowing the pool of candidates to fill the hotel’s massive ballroom and its 263 guest rooms.The hotel’s dealings with foreign governments have led to multiple lawsuits, congressional inquiries and investigations. In three lawsuits winding their way through the federal court system, plaintiffs argue that Trump is
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