President-elect Donald Trump will breach his company’s Trump International Hotel lease with the General Services Administration (GSA) on inauguration day, top Democrats on House committees and subcommittees claimed in a Wednesday letter.
The Democrats claim GSA Deputy Administrator Michael Gelber said Trump’s inauguration will violate that lease because it requires that no elected officials be involved with the property. Agency officials have issued a statement, however, denying that such a decision on the lease has been reached.
“Most importantly, the deputy commissioner informed our staff that GSA assess that Mr. Trump will be in breach of the lease agreement the moment he takes office on January 20, 2017, unless he fully divests himself of all financial interest in the lease for the Washington, D.C. hotel,” the letter addressed to GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth said.
“The deputy commissioner made clear that Mr. Trump must divest himself not only of managerial control, but of all ownership interest, as well,” the Democrats continued. (RELATED: ‘Risk Of Favoritism’ Seen As Trump Appointees Negotiate His Hotel’s Rent)
Democrat Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Gerry Connolly of Virginia, and André Carson of Indiana signed the letter.
Agency officials released a statement in response to the letter, denying that any determinations about the status of the lease following Trump’s inauguration has been made, saying “GSA does not have a position that the lease provision requires the president-elect to divest of his financial interests. We can make no definitive statement at this time about what would constitute a breach of the agreement, and to do so now would be premature.”
The statement continued: “In fact, no determination regarding the Old Post Office can be completed until the full circumstances surrounding the president-elect’s business arrangements have been finalized and he has assumed office. GSA is committed to responsibly administering all of the leases to which it is a party.”
Neither Trump nor his associates have contacted the GSA since the Republican primary, according to the lawmakers. GSA contacted the Trump transition team but have not received a response.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has led Trump Organization’s involvement with the GSA lease and is also part of her father’s transition team, the democrats pointed out.
“The conflicts of interest are obvious,” the letter said.
Trump’s hotel is built in the Old Post Office Building down the street from the White House. He won the GSA 60-year, $180 million lease in a 2013 bid.
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