Donald Trump is about to lose what was the crown jewel of his hotel portfolio. The hotel company owned by the former president has reached an agreement to sell for 375 million dollars the transfer of his opulent hotel in Washington, located five blocks from the White House and near the Capitol, according to the newspaper. The Wall Street Journal. The US asset manager CGI Merchant Group will retain the property management rights and, always according to the Journal, has already reached an agreement with Hilton Worldwide Holdings to rename and manage it under the Waldorf Astoria rubric.
The luxurious hotel, conveniently perched on the edge of the National Mall, opened in 2016, just before Trump was elected president. It occupies an imposing 122-year-old building that was once the post office. The building is owned by the federal government but the lease can be extended for 100 years. In 2013, the Trump Organization took over the property for a period of 60 years in a very close contest, in which the most famous names in the business participated with powerful bank funds, as was the case with Marriott International.
Located on strategic Pennsylvania Avenue, the hotel’s grand opening, almost as Trump moved into the White House, turned the imposing, pretentiously Romanesque imitation estate into the favorite hangout of any self-respecting Trump Republican. Important businessmen passed through its 263 luxurious rooms. Lobbyists swapped the halls of the Ritz or Four Seasons for the Trump hall. In extravagant golden armchairs, economic agreements were forged and there were those who strolled through the halls hoping to run into a Trump advisor – many frequented the place – or, better yet, one of his children, and thus get a way of entry to the Oval Office.
In those days, the hotel became one of the Trump family’s largest sources of income and one of the few company businesses that experienced a significant increase in revenue since Trump arrived in the White House. Trump himself has visited him several dozen times since he assumed the presidency.
The Journal reports that the hotel has generated 150 million profits in a period of four years, according to figures provided by Trump when he was president. The most recent data refers to all of 2020 and the first weeks of this year, when earnings fell to 15 million compared to the 40 that were earned in 2019.
Since the fall of 2019, there has been speculation about the launch of the pompous hotel on the market, which, curiously, coincided with the fact that Trump reversed his intention to celebrate the G7 summit that year in his hotel and golf complex. National Doral, near Miami (Florida). At all times, the White House has declared that it did not obtain benefits for hosting dignitaries in its premises. In their rooms slept, among others, the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis; Trump’s former spokesman, Anthony Scaramucci, or Steve Mnuchin, the Secretary of the Treasury, who resided at the hotel for six months.
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The sale of the hotel’s license comes as several committees of the Democratic-majority House of Representatives have been investigating and holding hearings on possible conflicts of interest and fees received by Trump. A report from one of those commissions estimates that the hotel would have recorded losses of more than 70 million dollars between its opening and the end of 2020, figures that the Trump Organization refutes.