Energy industry patronage drying up?
Welcome to 1100 Pennsylvania, a newsletter devoted to President Donald Trump’s Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. (and his other companies). President Trump, of course, still owns his businesses and can profit from them.
If you like what you see, tell someone—and support this work by becoming a paying member ($5/month or $50/year). If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe for yourself at zacheverson.substack.com. Questions? Read our FAQ/manifesto. Tips or feedback? Contact me, Zach Everson, securely via email at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com or on Signal at 202.804.2744.
Energy industry patronage drying up?
In “Energy execs spend big at Trump hotel ‘Disneyland,’” Dylan Brown and Hannah Northey of E&E News took a deep look at energy industry events at the president’s hotel—and note that revenue stream for the hotel may be tapped out:
While the president’s hotel played host to nearly every top fossil fuel trade group after Trump’s election, none appear to be returning this year.
“I suspect that’s because they must book meetings a couple years in advance; many wanted to book Trump Hotel early in his presidency to signal a welcome to Washington,” a former coal industry representative said, adding, “And now, having paid their respects, [they] no longer feel an obligation.”
Trump Inc. season 3 premier looks at Tom Barrack
The season three premier of WNYC Studios and ProPublica’s ongoing investigation into Trump’s business world, Trump Inc. was released this morning. It took a deep look at longtime Trump associate, real estate investor Tom Barrack:
“Trump inauguration chief Tom Barrack’s ‘rules for success’” by Ilya Marritz and Justin Elliott
Barrack has two major connections to the Trump Hotel D.C.:
his company, Colony Capital, attached its name to Donald Trump’s successful bid to lease the Old Post Office from the U.S. government (it did not end up financing the project though)
he chaired the Trump inaugural committee that spent $1.5 million at the hotel, including $175,000 a day for meeting space—which may have violated tax law for spending at rates well above the market
Barrack posed in the lobby last May with the president of the Turkish American Business Association/American Chamber of Commerce in Turkey, Ali Osman Akat, and Omer Er, who founded a business that invests in emerging companies.
Two other D.C. hotel-related nuggets from the episode:
the Trump inaugural committee got the hotel to bounce a prayer breakfast so it could have the meeting space (the breakfast was later allowed back)
the next Trump Inc. episode focuses on the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lobby (teaser: the hotel really put on a good show for them)
Other Trump Organization news
“Top Deutsche Bank AG executives were so concerned after the 2016 U.S. election that the Trump Organization might default on about $340 million of loans while Donald Trump was in office that they discussed extending repayment dates until after the end of a potential second term in 2025,” by Gavin Finch, Steven Arons, and Shahien Nasiripour for Bloomberg
“Donald Trump has a cash problem: The failure of his sons’ new hotel chains hints at financial issues” by Russ Choma for Mother Jones
“Intimidation, pressure, and humiliation: Inside Trump’s two-year war on the investigations encircling him” by Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Fandos, and Michael S. Schmidt for The New York Times
“One of the power plant manufacturers that could benefit from a nuclear deal, Westinghouse Electric, is a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, the company that has provided financial relief to the family of Jared Kushner” by Tom Hamburger, Steven Mufson, and Ellen Nakashima for The Washington Post
The Trump Organization shared more photos of Eric’s trip to Uruguay last month. His visit appears to have gone unnoticed in the United States until he tweeted about it. In Uruguay, he reportedly told a local journalist that while he and his father don’t discuss specifics about the Trump Punta del Este, they do chat about the country. Eric’s January 2017 trip to Uruguay cost U.S. taxpayers $97,830 in hotel bills for embassy staff and the Secret Service.
“As Franklin Haney tells it, his trouble started when President Donald Trump passed him a business tip. It came on an otherwise delightful night last spring as they dined at adjacent tables in Florida’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort. ‘He comes over,’’ Haney said, recalling how the President, an old friend, introduced him to a prospective investor—an official with the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation of Qatar who seemed interested in Haney’s plan to buy an obscure nuclear plant and sell power to the city of Memphis.” By Marc Perrusquia for The Daily Memphian.
While Trump’s golf clubs’ membership lists are private, the Trump Golf Twitter account let it be known that NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin is a member of its club outside Charlotte.
“7 key questions about what President Trump’s company faces in 2019” by David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O’Connell for The Washington Post
The Trump Hotel D.C. retained its Forbes five-star rating. Trump hotels in New York, Vancouver, and Waikiki also achieved that status. The D.C. hotel’s managing director, Mickael Damelincourt, promptly used the honor to taunt travel journalists and bloggers into covering the property.
House investigations, current status (latest change, Feb. 20, 2019)
Financial Services—Sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank on Jan. 24.
Foreign Affairs—Chair Rep. Elliot Engel (D–NY) “plans to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s businesses are driving foreign policy decisions, including whether Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution in the process” per CNN on Jan. 23.
Intelligence—On Feb. 6, chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D–CA) issued a statement that said his committee would investigate links or coordination between the Russian government/related foreign actors and individuals associated with Trump’s businesses, as well as if foreign actors sought to compromise or hold leverage over Trump’s businesses. During an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Feb. 10, Schiff said the committee will investigate Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, a major lender to the Trump Organization. Earlier, on Jan. 24, the committee sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank.
Oversight and Reform—Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings’s (D–MD) staff “has already sent out 51 letters to government officials, the White House, and the Trump Organization asking for documents related to investigations that the committee may launch,” according to CBS News on Jan. 13. In a Feb. 15 letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings said the committee received documents showing a White House attorney and one of Trump’s personal attorneys provided “false information” to the Office of Government Ethics regarding Michael Cohen’s “hush-money payments.”
UPDATED Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management—Transportation committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio (D–OR) and subcommittee chair Dina Titus (D–NV) sent a letter to GSA administrator Emily Murphy on Jan. 22 asking for all communication between the GSA and members of the Trump family dating back to 2015, an explanation of how the hotel calculates its profits, profit statements since the hotel opened in 2016, any guidance from the White House regarding the lease, and whether or not Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are recused from participating in decisions regarding the property. GSA has “sent a partial response and the subcommittee is reviewing it,” according to a senior House staffer familiar with the situation. When hearings begin, it is likely that Murphy will be the first person called to testify, according to a person familiar with the subcommittee’s plans.
Ways and Means subcommittee on Oversight—The subcommittee held its first hearing on “legislative proposals and tax law related to presidential and vice-presidential tax returns” on Feb. 7. “We will ask the question: Does the public have a need to know that a person seeking the highest office in our country obeys tax law?” said chair Rep. John Lewis (D–GA). Experts in tax law testified.
Legal cases, current status (latest change, Feb. 7, 2019)
Official capacity—On Dec. 20, 2018, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it would hear the president’s appeal of district court rulings that allowed the case to proceed to discovery, and the appellate court halted discovery in the case. Discovery had started Dec. 3 and was scheduled to run through Aug. 2, 2019, with the AGs having subpoenaed the Trump Organization, including its Scottish golf courses; the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Treasury and the GSA; and the state of Maine. Oral arguments on the appeal are scheduled for March 19. The AGs filed their brief opposing the president’s appeal on Feb. 6, stating, “The President is not entitled to an order requiring the district court to certify for interlocutory review its denial of his motion to dismiss. No court has ever issued such relief.”
Individual capacity—On Dec. 14, Trump’s personal attorneys appealed the denial of their motion to dismiss the case, also to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Dec. 19, the AGs replied to Trump’s motion for a stay pending that appeal by voluntarily dismissing the claims against Trump in his “individual capacity to allow the claims against President Trump in his official capacity to move forward expeditiously.” (The AGs only brought suit against Trump in his individual capacity after the judge suggested they do so.) Trump’s personal attorneys, on Dec. 21, opposed the motion to dismiss at the district level, saying the appeals court now has jurisdiction and accusing the AGs of “gamesmanship.”
196 Democratic senators and representatives’ emoluments lawsuit—On Sept. 28, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the legislators have standing to sue. Trump’s Justice Department attorneys filed an interlocutory appeal on Oct. 22. On Jan. 30, 2019, the plaintiffs’ filed a notice of supplemental authority, notifying the court of the GSA inspector general’s report that criticized GSA for failing to consider if the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease was in compliance with the Constitution after Donald Trump became president. Two days later, the president’s attorneys argued that the IG’s conclusion was not inconsistent with Trump’s argument, but that the judge should ignore that report anyway because the IG has no expertise in interpreting or applying the foreign emoluments clause.
CREW et. al’s emoluments lawsuit—In February 2018, CREW appealed its suit being dismissed for lack of standing to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments on that motion were held on Oct. 30.
Cork’s unfair competition lawsuit—Judge Richard J. Leon dismissed the case on Nov. 26, 2018, writing “Cork has failed to state a claim for unfair competition under D.C. law.” On Dec. 10, Cork’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal and on Jan. 10, 2019 they submitted a statement of issues to be raised. The next steps, which don’t yet have a timeline, include setting a briefing schedule and both sides filing appellate briefs.
Employees’ class-action suit alleging racial discrimination—Two of the three plaintiffs did not appear at a status hearing on Jan. 25, 2019; their cases were moved to arbitration. Via email, their attorney, A.J. Dhali, said his clients did not appear at the hearing because their case already had been moved to arbitration last year. The next status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4.
Health inspections, current status (latest change, Aug. 10, 2018)
❌Hotel: five violations on May 7, 2018; two were corrected on site
❌BLT Prime and Benjamin Bar: nine violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Sushi Nakazawa: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Banquet kitchen: no violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Pastry kitchen: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Gift shop: no violations on May 7, 2018
❌Employee kitchen and in-room dining: five violations on Aug. 10, 2018; two were corrected on site
One thing that has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses (I think, tough to tell sometimes!)
U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell hosted disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley (R–FL) at the ambassador’s residence in Berlin last August. (Yes, a FOIA request asking for details has been submitted.)
Thanks for reading. If you like what you see, tell someone—and support this work by becoming a paying member ($5/month or $50/year). If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe for yourself at zacheverson.substack.com. Questions? Read our FAQ/manifesto. Tips or feedback? Contact me, Zach Everson, securely via email at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com or on Signal at 202.804.2744.