Trump DC Hotel Made Massive Profits Amid Ethics Concerns

AL DRAGO  NYT

AL DRAGO NYT

Experts interviewed by The Post said that the Trump International Hotel is now the most expensive hotel in Washington - partly because it has become a prestigious meeting ground for high-profile conservative leaders from around the world.

President Trump's Washington, DC, hotel wasn't supposed to be profitable in the first four months after it opened - at least that's what the Trump Organization projected.

The Trump International Hotel, in the opulently renovated Old Post Office near the National Mall, brought in about $18 million in revenue in the first four months of 2017, in part by charging room rates that were 60 percent higher than what had been planned, according to documents viewed by the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story.

"The Trump hotel seems to be able to profit off a much smaller group, even though it is more than half empty". Rep. Peter DeFazio (D., Ore.) called the arrangement "highly unethical".

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Upon taking office, Trump tried to address ethical concerns by turning over the hotel's management to his two eldest sons and vowing to take no hotel profits during his tenure. Since the his swearing in, the president's second property along Pennsylvania Avenue has hosted foreign lobbyists, banking executives, and others attracted to the luxury brand created by the President of the United States.

Government watchdog groups, competing businesses and state attorneys general have sued about what they call unfair business practices that allow Trump to use the presidency to enrich himself - a tension likely to be heightened by the hotel's nearly immediate profitability.

Critics, including government ethics experts and members of Congress, say the president's refusal to divest from his family's sprawling business has created a minefield of conflicts of interests. As GQ and WaPo have both recently reported, Trump International has emerged as the hottest spot in town for conservative politicians, pundits, and donors exiled in a heavily democratic city to hang out and drink wine served in spoons.

The Trump Organization leases the building in which the hotel is located from the GSA, the agency that acts as the federal government's landlord. It posted an occupancy rate of 42.3 percent, compared with almost 70 percent in the industry.

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