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Maloney, Connolly Urge GSA to Void Trump Lease on Old Post Office Building

February 18, 2022 by Dan McCue
Maloney, Connolly Urge GSA to Void Trump Lease on Old Post Office Building
The lobby bar at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — The chairs of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and its Subcommittee on Government Operations are urging the General Services Administration to terminate the Old Post Office Building lease held by former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization.

The request by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., and Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., in a letter delivered to the GSA on Thursday, comes on the heels of an announcement by Mazars USA — the longtime auditor for the Trump Hotel — that it is severing ties with the Trump Organization, and its admission that 10 years’ worth of financial statements prepared for the former president are unreliable.

“As part of his bid to win the Old Post Office Building lease, former President Trump submitted three years’ worth of Statements of Financial Condition, all compiled by Mazars, to GSA,” the chairs wrote in a joint letter. “As the committee previously explained, those statements appear to be ‘incomplete, misleading and in violation of the express terms of the solicitation’ given significant omissions in former President Trump’s listed assets and liabilities.  

“Although the financial statements that former President Trump submitted to GSA preceded the 10 years of statements that Mazars has now retracted, the earlier statements submitted to GSA contain potential misrepresentations about former President Trump’s assets that are similar to those identified by state investigators,” they wrote. 

“In light of these new revelations, including further evidence that the former president submitted at least one financial statement with possible material misrepresentations to GSA, we request that you consider terminating the Old Post Office Building lease to former President Trump and the Trump Organization under the authority provided in Article 27 of the lease, and end, once-and-for-all, the grave damage this inappropriate lease has done to presidential ethics and integrity in government contracting,” Maloney and Connolly concluded.

The letter also contains new information from the committee’s investigation showing former President Trump’s efforts to limit access to information about his financial affairs.  

In October, the committee requested GSA provide additional documents and information related to its investigation into former President Trump’s conflicts of interest in connection with the Old Post Office Building lease. In response, the committee obtained portions of an Aug. 12, 2014, agreement between Deutsche Bank and the Trump Organization for a $170 million loan to finance the construction of the Trump Hotel.

In order to obtain the loan, it appears that Deutsche Bank required former President Trump, in his capacity as guarantor, to provide both a Statement of Financial Condition prepared as of June 30, 2013, and the first two pages of recently filed tax returns.  

However, Deutsche Bank apparently agreed that “the first two (2) pages of the recently filed tax returns and his liquidity statements may only be reviewed at the offices of [the] Guarantor in New York, New York, but [the] Lender may not make any copies of such tax return pages or take same with them.”  

Former President Trump’s 2013 Statement of Financial Condition is among the statements that Mazars recently disavowed.

In their letter, Maloney and Connolly also raised new concerns on the planned sale of the Trump Hotel to Miami-based CGI Merchant Group, whose investors have not been fully publicly disclosed, for $375 million, which is reportedly $100 million over market value. 

If approved by GSA, the sale would yield a profit of approximately $100 million to the Trump Organization. The committee recently expressed concern that, under the terms of the lease, GSA’s review of the sale may be limited.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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