President Donald Trump’s White House residency does not violate the Trump International Hotel’s lease with the federal government, a senior General Services Administration (GSA) official wrote Thursday.
“Based on my review of the lease, discussions with the tenant and documents submitted by the tenant, I have determined that tenant is in full compliance … and, accordingly, the lease is valid and in full force and effect,” GSA contracting officer Kevin Terry wrote in a letter to Trump first reported by Government Executive.
The Trump Organization built the hotel in the GSA-owned Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue after signing a 60-year, $180 million lease in 2013. Critics previously claimed Trump could not be both own and rent the property. (RELATED: Trump Will Violate His Hotel Lease Upon Inauguration, Democrats Say)
They also argued that political appointees Trump installs at GSA could lower the rent on the Trump Organization’s behalf. (RELATED: ‘Risk Of Favoritism’ Seen As Trump Appointees Negotiate His Hotel’s Rent)
Terry based his determination on Trump’s decision to transfer the lease to his children’s trusts. The president also promised to donate the hotel’s profits from foreign government guests to the U.S. Treasury.
“Not only is the conclusion unexpected and unpersuasive as a matter of law, but, as a matter of policy, it is harmful to the integrity – and thus credibility – of GSA, the presidency, and the federal procurement process,” George Washington University procurement law professor and former Office of Management and Budget staffer Steven Schooner told Government Executive.
GSA’s Inspector General announced Tuesday it would hold off on investigating a potential lease violation.
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