With a Trump appointee no longer heading GSA, agency provided House committee long sought-after info about Trump’s D.C. hotel’s performance
After 11 requests, Democrats leading a House committee with oversight of the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease have obtained the business’s financial statements from the General Services Administration.
What changed? The latest ask was the first the representatives made when the leaseholder of the government-owned building that houses the hotel was no longer the U.S. president.
On Friday in a filing made in a different case, the Justice Department disclosed that GSA, which manages the lease, provided “certain materials…on a confidential basis” about the Trump Hotel D.C.—including its monthly financial statements—on May 5 to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The contents of the department’s letter were first reported by Jeremy Herb and Katelyn Polantz for CNN.
In March, the chair of that panel, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and the chair of a subcommittee with oversight of the government’s real estate programs, Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), had asked GSA Acting Administrator Katy Kale for the Trump Hotel D.C.’s financial reports, communication between the agency and the White House regarding the hotel, and internal memos regarding the legality of the lease.
The Trump Organization’s lease of the Old Post Office includes a provision requiring profit sharing with the taxpayers if certain revenue thresholds are met. But Trump-era GSA officials testified that the agency had not audited the financial info the hotel is required to furnish. And the Trump appointee heading GSA, Emily Murphy, repeatedly refused to provide unredacted financial information to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee—even defying a subpoena from DeFazio.
According to Friday’s court filing, however, GSA is still declining to provide requested legal memoranda, claiming the documents constitute “confidential internal executive branch legal advice.” As for the materials the agency did provide, it asked lawmakers not to disclose the information as it contains “trade secrets or confidential commercial or financial information that is exempt from public release.”
A spokesperson for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee declined to share details about the trove or what the panel’s next steps may be.
The Justice Department’s filing that revealed the extent of GSA’s cooperation came in a suit brought by the House Oversight Committee that also seeks documents regarding the Trump Hotel D.C.
Trump Hotel D.C. jacked up prices ahead of Qanon key date in March to prevent believers from booking rooms, report
From “Trump hotel purposely spiked prices to keep out QAnon supporters, hacked police data reveals” by Mikael Thalen for The Daily Dot [bold added]:
The Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. purposely spiked its prices in March in an effort to keep out supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory, hacked police data reveals.
In a Feb. 8 intelligence briefing posted to the dark web on Thursday by the Babuk ransomware gang, which hacked Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) last month, the MPD Intelligence Division reveals that it contacted the hotel after news reports noted the unexplained price hike.
As 1100 Pennsylvania reported on Feb. 5 when it broke the story of the Trump Hotel D.C.’s rate spike:
From 1793 to 1933, U.S. presidents typically were inaugurated on March 4. The date changed to January 20 upon ratification of the Twentieth Amendment in 1933. And after Democrats weren’t rounded up and executed on Jan. 20, 2021 as Qanon lore had foretold, many believers of the con simply pushed back the date of the storm to March 4.
Meanwhile, the lowest available room rates on March 3 and 4 at the Trump Hotel D.C. are more than double the prices for any other day that month according to the hotel’s website.
Rates at the Trump Hotel D.C. also spiked around the Jan. 6 rally that led to the insurrection at the Capitol. Although in that instance, the cost doesn’t appear to have prevented many bookings: the hotel’s manager boasted that the in-room dining team enjoyed “record breaking numbers” that week.
Annual Tea for Trump at namesake’s hotel canceled after organizer died
An annual birthday celebration at the Trump Hotel D.C. for Donald J. Trump has been canceled after the event’s organizer died.
Alice Butler-Short, the owner of Virginia Women for Trump, died on March 30, according to an obituary on the website for an Alexandria, Virginia funeral chapel and confirmed by one of Butler-Short’s friends.
A private company that often described itself as “not-for-profit,” Virginia Women for Trump hosted an annual Tea for Trump birthday celebration at the Trump Hotel D.C. since 2017 (the 2018 renewal featured a MAGA-themed fashion show scored in part to North Korea’s national anthem).
This year’s party has been canceled and refunds are being given per the celebration’s Eventbrite listing. Tickets had cost $135 to $5,000. The 2021 Tea for Trump had been scheduled for June 13 with former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and The MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell headlining.
Butler-Short was most recently in the news after organizing a Jan. 5 rally in front of the Supreme Court in support of Trump’s Big Lie that the election had been stolen, according to a report by Paul P. Murphy and Marshall Cohen for CNN.
Other notable sightings
A glimpse of the foreign officials, government employees, politicians, lobbyists, and the like who patronize or appear at Trump businesses. Most people shown here have reasons to want to influence the former president, rely on his good graces for their livelihoods, or should have been providing oversight. Additionally, high-profile guests serve as draws for paying customers.
Audra Johnson, a Republican candidate for U.S. House in Michigan, met with freedom fighters at the former president’s D.C. hotel.
Former Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services Michael Caputo celebrated his health with a photo from his former boss’s resort.
Other Trump Organization news
“Prosecutors seek cooperation of Trump confidant, subpoena Manhattan private school” by Corinne Ramey for The Wall Street Journal
“Dump Trump? Kicking him off NYC golf course may not be easy” by Bernard Condon for The Associated Press
“Trump considers contenders to be his new social-media outlet after Big Tech crackdown” by Keach Hagey for The Wall Street Journal
“How Palm Beach is preparing for a possible Trump indictment” by Tara Palmeri, Ryan Lizza, Rachael Bade, and Eugene Daniels for Politico
Links to rundowns of developments in the House’s investigations and lawsuits, reference sheets for some of 1100 Pennsylvania’s previous reporting, and articles that provide the background on why all of this matters. The date published or last updated is in parentheses.
House investigations (Dec. 20, 2020)
Lawsuits (Jan. 26, 2021)
Breakdown of judges’ rulings by political party of presidents who nominated them (July 13, 2020)
Health inspections (Oct. 6, 2020)
COVID-19 bailouts and charity (Nov. 30, 2020)
Politicians spotted at Mar-a-Lago post-presidency (May 11, 2021)
Foreign governments with representatives spotted at the Trump Hotel D.C.: 33 (Sept. 22, 2020)
Trump cabinet members spotted at the Trump Hotel D.C.: 28 of 37 (Jan 21, 2021)
U.S. Senators who’ve supported the Trump Hotel D.C.: 35 of 65 Republicans, one Democrat (Jan. 21, 2021)
House Judiciary members who’ve supported the Trump Hotel D.C.: Seven of 17 Republicans, no Democrats (Sept. 25, 2020)
House Intelligence members who’ve supported the Trump Hotel D.C.: Four of eight Republicans, no Democrats (June 1, 2020)
House Oversight members who’ve supported the Trump Hotel D.C.: Nine of 17 Republicans, no Democrats (Aug. 2, 2020)
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management who’ve supported the Trump Hotel D.C.: Four out of six Republicans, one Democrat (July 1, 2020)
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–CA) found Trump’s hotels competitive only after Trump’s election (Sept. 12, 2019)
Rudy Giuliani at the Trump Hotel D.C: A retrospective (April 30, 2019)
“Stay to play: Inside the sordid history of Trump’s D.C. hotel—And why the president’s prized property could be headed for a reckoning” by your correspondent for Mother Jones (September 2020)
“Power tripping in the swamp: How Trump’s D.C. hotel swallowed Washington
The MAGA social scene is a movable feast, but its dark heart resides within the Old Post Office Building, where the Trump Org operates under a mercenary charter” by your correspondent for Vanity Fair (October 2019)
“Inside the world’s most controversial hotel: The hotel that was expected to take its place among the crown jewels of D.C.’s travel scene has become a magnet for protestors, a West Wing Annex, and—possibly—the center of a constitutional crisis.” by your correspondent for Condé Nast Traveler (May 2018)
Upcoming key dates
Sept. 23, 2019—House Judiciary Committee hearing “Presidential corruption: Emoluments and profiting off the presidency” (postponed, not yet rescheduled)
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