Former US President Donald Trump’s Showcase Hotel in Washington – a popular gathering place for supporters and foreign dignitaries – bled millions of dollars during his time in office, even as he hid payments from foreign governments, the US The House of Representatives panel said on Friday.
The House Committee on Inspection and Improvement said recently obtained government documents raise “troubling” questions about the Trump International Hotel, which is in a historic building that the Trump Organization leases from the federal government.
According to the Democratic-controlled committee, Mr Trump reported that the hotel earned him more than US$150 million during his time in office, but actually lost more than US$70 million.
The committee found that the hotel received payments of more than US$3.7 million from foreign governments – the equivalent of approximately more than 7,400 nights at the hotel, indicating a potential conflict of interest.
The committee said the hotel owed a portion of that money to the US government, but failed to provide full details of those payments to the General Services Administration, the property manager of the federal government. Its investigation was based on documents issued by the GSA.
Provisions of the US Constitution prevent the president from receiving payments, or “emoluments,” from foreign governments.
Trump’s lawyers have argued in court cases that his ownership of the hotel did not violate these constitutional provisions.
A spokesman for the Trump Organization said the committee’s report was inaccurate but not detailed.
“This report is nothing more than ongoing political persecution in a desperate attempt to mislead the American public and discredit Trump in pursuit of his own agenda,” Kimberly Benzion said.
GSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Congressional Democrats say the GSA stalled their investigation into Trump’s businesses while in office, but in July, 2021, it finally produced some of the documents they were seeking.
The committee found that Mr Trump moved millions of dollars through other businesses, complicating the GSA’s ability to enforce provisions that prevented him from collecting profits from hotels.
The committee also found that it hid the debt when it was bidding for the use of the property in 2011 and failed to disclose that it had favorable loan terms from Deutsche Bank AG that financed the hotel’s renovation.
The House panel found that Deutsche Bank had allowed Trump to delay payment of US$170 million in principal for six years.
Deutsche Bank spokesman Daniel Hunter said it was false without providing further details.
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