NEW YORK - The company of former President Donald Trump lost over $70 million at his Washington, D.C. hotel during his four years as president, despite receiving millions from foreign governments, according documents released Friday by a congressional investigation into his business.
According to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, the luxury hotel located just blocks from the White House was in serious financial trouble. The Trump Organization had to borrow $27 million from other areas of its business and received preferential treatment from a major lender in order to defer payments on a $170million loan.
The losses were despite $3.7 million in revenue received from foreign governments. Experts in ethics said Trump should not have accepted this money as it would have created conflicts of interest when he was president.
In a statement, the Trump Organization stated that the findings of a Democrat-led committee were misleading. It also claimed that it was false and did not receive any special treatment by a lender.
The company stated that the report was nothing but continued political harassment, in an attempt to mislead Americans and defame Trump for their own agenda.
The committee's documents, which are the first public disclosures of audited financial reports from the hotel, reveal steep losses despite the fact that Trump was in office and there was a lot of business from businesses, lobbyists, and Republican groups.
Deutsche Bank's loan delay to the president was an "undisclosed preference treatment" that should have been reported to the president, because the bank does substantial business in the U.S. The Trump Organization leases the hotel from the federal government.
"The documents raise new and troubling issues about former President Trump’s lease with GSA, and the agency’s ability to manage Trump's conflicts of interests during his term in office, when he was effectively on either side of the contract as landlord or tenant," the letter from the Democratic co-chairs of the committee, Carolyn Maloney, New York, and Gerald Connolly, Virginia.
Deutsche Bank, for its part, stated in a statement that the committee made several inaccurate statements about the loan agreement, but declined to provide more details, citing concerns over loan privacy.
In a letter to GSA, the committee stated that hotel losses were contrary to the president's exaggerated image about financial success in his personal financial disclosure reports each year to a federal ethics office. However, those reports only require revenue to be disclosed. Not profits. This is an apples-to oranges comparison that Trump's sons took advantage of in a tweet blasting his father.
Eric Trump sent the following message to the committee: "Please understand the difference between Gross Revenues and Net Profits before you write us long letters," calling them "incompetent."
Trump's company tried to sell the 263-room hotel from the fall of 2019, but failed to find buyers during the coronavirus epidemic, which was reported to have cost more than $500 million.
CREW's head of government ethics said that the losses revealed Trump's inability to ban foreign governments patronizing his company.
Noah Bookbinder, President of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics Washington, stated that "the only lifeline was corrupt business from people and organisations and governments trying to influence him." "His use the presidency to get business was essential in stemming the loss flow."
Trump pledged to pay the U.S. Treasury annually on foreign government earnings from his company to allay any concerns regarding conflict of interest. The committee stated that Washington hotel payments made under the deal were more than $350,000 during Trump's first three years in office. Critics of Trump's voluntary agreement claim that Trump's definitions of earnings are unclear, giving him ample room to lower the figure.
Although the Washington hotel was badly affected by pandemic-related shut downs last year, audited financial statements released in December by the committee reveal that it suffered every year it was open prior to that. The hotel lost nearly $50 million during his first three years, and $22 million in the last year.