GSA approves sale of Trump Organization hotel lease in Washington

The GSA said it has hired a third-party consultant to assess CGI Merchant Group and its partner Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., which will operate the hotel as a Waldorf Astoria property. After a review, he said he determined CGI was a “qualified assignee” and Hilton was a “qualified operator,” a necessary step for Trump to sell the lease. The GSA said its contracts manager informed the Trump Organization of its decision on Friday.

The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A CGI spokesperson declined to comment.

A person familiar with the deal says it is on track and could be announced in the coming weeks.

The hotel has been a source of controversy – and the subject of lawsuits and investigations – since Donald Trump became president. It was a meeting place for Republicans and others who sought to be close to the then president. But it also caught the attention of Democrats who believed Trump was taking unfair advantage of his presidency.
The GSA, which manages federal buildings and lands, awarded the lease of the former post office building to Trump in 2012. Trump opened the hotel in 2016, when he was the Republican presidential nominee .
When he took office, Trump resigned from his companies but transferred his assets to a trust run by his sons, allowing him to continue to benefit financially from the DC Hotel and his other businesses.
Documents released by the House Oversight Committee showed the hotel received millions from foreign governments in payments and loan deferrals, which Trump did not disclose, raising conflict of interest questions potential during his presidency. The committee last month asked the GSA to terminate the lease before Trump could sell it, in order to bar the Trump Organization from profiting from the sale.

The GSA said its review determined the sale price was reasonable.

“The contracting officer has no basis to conclude that the sale value of the lease is commercially unreasonable or inconsistent with market demand,” he said. “The brokerage firm engaged by the tenant to market the lease has advised the contracting officer that there is broad interest in acquiring the leasehold interest and has received multiple offers within the same range as the sale price to CGI. Additionally, in the opinion of the contracting officer, the dollar amount per key (a common measure used to value the sale of hotel assets) was comparable to similar transactions.”

He added that Trump and CGI believed the hotel, which was unprofitable under Trump, “would generate much more revenue than it currently generates, largely by being able to bring in more guests to the hotel”.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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