Donald Trump won’t be inaugurated for another 7 weeks, but we already see a scandal brewing in his administration.
It sounds perfectly boring, but it involves contractual obligations with the General Services Administration (GSA) surrounding, unsurprisingly, a land deal in Washington, D.C. And Donald Trump shows no signs of preventing a disaster for himself.
The Trump Organization has leased the old D.C. Post Office Pavilion from the government. This is a deal made before Trump was even running for President, which allowed the Trump organization to renovate the building, and launch it as the Trump International Hotel. The hotel sits just a few blocks from the White House.
Even though he plans to let his children run the Trump Organization while he is President, Donald Trump has announced no plans to sell off his ownership of the organization. That’s important, because that means he will continue to profit from the organization’s business dealings, including those of the Hotel.
That Trump will profit from the Hotel next year matters because of the terms of his lease, according to Steven Schooner and Daniel Gordon at Government Executive online magazine:
The Post Office Lease differs from many of Mr. Trump’s other business arrangements. That’s because, in writing the contract, the federal and D.C. governments determined, in advance, that elected officials could play no role in this lease arrangement. The contract language is clear: “No … elected official of the Government of the United States … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom…”
It doesn’t matter if he lets his kids run the Trump Organization. As long as he owns part of it and profits from it, Trump could be ruled to be in material breach of his lease as soon as he’s sworn in as President of the United States. It makes sense, too: He can’t be on both sides of the lease agreement, as that’s a yuge conflict of interest.
Trump must sell the Hotel, or sell his stake in the Trump organization.