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Trump sells Washington hotel to investor group

NEW YORK (AP) – The lease to the Washington DC hotel run by Donald Trump’s family company while he was president, a symbol of his power to GOP politicians who gathered there and of corruption to his critics, has been sold by his family company to a Miami-based investor fund.

The Trump Organisation said on Wednesday that it had completed the sale of a long-term lease of the Trump International Hotel to CGI Merchant Group of Miami for what it described as a record price per room for the city.

Sources close to the deal demanding anonymity to discuss the private transaction have said that the price was USD375 million, handing the Trump family business as much as USD100 million in profit.

The new owners planned to remove the Trump name from the facade and rebrand the hotel a Waldorf Astoria. Workers were seen removing signage from the hotel on Wednesday night.

The Associated Press reported earlier this year that the group of investors includes former Yankee slugger Alexander Rodriguez. Many hotel brokers, owners and consultants did not expect the 263-room hotel down the street from the White House to fetch such a high price.

A worker removes the signage for the Trump International Hotel in Washington. PHOTO: AP

The hotel lost more than USD70 milllion during the four years of Trump’s presidency, including in each year before pandemic shut downs.

The high price, equivalent to more than USD1.4 million a room, has drawn scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers. The United States House Oversight Committee earlier this month requested documents from CGI listing all of its investors.

The hotel was a magnet for lobbyists, diplomats and others seeking to curry favour with the president. Democrats said it sullied the reputation of the presidency, pitted his financial interest against public interest and possibly broke the law.

Several lawsuits challenging his ownership of the lease were unsuccessful.

The hotel is the former Old Post Office building, and its still owned by the federal government.

The Trump Organisation won rights to fix up the building and run it as a hotel in exchange for paying the government annual rent and a cut of profit upon a sale.