Watchdog Group Urges GSA To Find Trump Hotel In Breach Of Lease

Riccardo Savi/Sipa USA

The watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility lodged a complaint Friday with the General Services Administration, urging it to find that President Donald Trump’s inauguration put his company in breach of its lease of the Old Post Office in Washington, Politico reported.

The federal government leased the historic property on Pennsylvania Avenue to a Trump company, which renovated and reopened it last year as a Trump International Hotel.

The letter to the GSA argues that Trump is in conflict with GSA’s lease contract for the building, which includes a conflict-of-interest provision, according to the letter.

“Mr. Trump was sworn in as President of the United States today,” the complaint notes, before going on to quote portions of the original contract.

“Once that happened, he became an ‘elected official of the Government of the United States.’ As a result, he and companies he owns can no longer ‘be admitted to any share or part’ of the lease or ‘to any benefit that may arise’ from it,” the letter said.

The letter goes on to argue that, assuming the GSA has received no “new information demonstrating President Trump no longer owns Trump Old Post,” that the agency should “initiate the process for establishing that President Trump’s company has breached the lease and is in default.”

Trump’s allies have countered that the real estate mogul is not in breach of the lease because the conflict-of-interest provision is directed at elected officials who attempt to enter a lease with the GSA while in office, rather than those who are elected after the contract has been signed, according to Politico.

Read the CREW letter, via Politico, below: