Trump Organization Exploring Sale of the Marquee Washington Hotel

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The Trump Organization is exploring to the rights of the company 's opulent Washington, D.C., hotel, a move it says is motivated partly by criticism that the Trumps are flouting ethics laws by profiting from the property.

President Trump's family business has established the real estate firm JLL to market the Trump International Hotel,

      Eric Trump,

       an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, told The Wall Street Journal.

Eric Trump said in a statement. "Since we opened our doors, we have received tremendous interest in this hotel and as real-estate developers, we are always willing to explore our options," he said.

He added that scrutiny of the hotel's profits: "People are objecting to us making money in the hotel, and we may be willing to sell."

The 121-year-old building is the former Old Post Office and is near the National Mall. It is owned by the federal government and the Trump Organization by the General Services Administration.

"People familiar with the matter," said the company. That would make the sale one of the highest-priced hotels With extensions, the lease runs close to 100 years, and a new owner could control the property well into the next century.

Mr. Trump, breaking with recent precedents, did not sell his businesses after being elected president, instead placing his holdings in a trust to be run by his sons. That has sparked criticisms from the Democratic and watchdog groups that owning properties at which foreigners, federal, state and local officials could spend money on constitutional ban

Mr. Trump, he was a trump-branded hotel shortly before Election Day in 2016. He has dined and visited the property 23 times as president, and other executive-branch officials have made at least 390 trips, according to the Citizens for Responsive Ethics in Washington, to nonprofit group that tracks ethics issues.

Trump National Doral near Miami, after facing intense criticism from Democrats that hosting such an event would amount to self-dealing.

The Trump administration has also faced scrutiny for the Washington hotel. In January, the GSA's inspector general issued a report that said the agency ignored guidelines spelled out in the Constitution's Emoluments Clause by allowing Mr. Trump to keep the lease on the hotel.

A federal appeals court in New York last month revived a lawsuit alleging that Mr. Trump is unconstitutionally profiting from his presidency. The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that plaintiffs, including hotels and restaurants that competes with Mr. Trump's businesses, have legal standing to bring their claims.

When the GSA began seeking proposals to redevelop the Old Post Office, it was home to a few federal offices and retail stores and was losing money. The Trump Organization won a heated bidding contest

            Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

to make a Waldorf Astoria hotel.

The Trump Organization has spent hundreds of millions to convert the Romanesque Revival landmark into a luxury hotel, people familiar with the matter say.

The trump portfolio was a tough spot for a number of other locations. Revenue at the Washington hotel by $ 400,000 to $ 40.8 million last year, according to the president's financial disclosures in May. Revenue last year from his Mar-a-Lake resort in Palm Beach, Fla., Fell 10% to $ 22.6 million, while revenue from the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., At hotels in Hawaii and a golf club in Colts Neck , NJ, also fell, financial disclosures show.

The property is a short walk down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. The hotels' bars and restaurants are a hub of social activity in Republican circles, where members of Congress, their staff, lobbyists and others who have business before the White House dine on steak, sushi and cocktails under grand chandeliers.

At Forbes 5-star hotel, the property boasts the largest hotel rooms in the capital and suites with 18-foot high ceilings. According to the hotel website, rooms for a one-night stay this weekend at $ 672, and suites run to more than $ 3,000. On average in Washington, $ 317 per night, according to data tracker STR Inc.

Officials representing high net-worth families and other domestic investors and from outside the U.S. have toured the property in recent weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Trump Organization has said it doesn t market the hotel to foreign dignitaries and that it writes a check to the U.S. Treasury Department for money made from foreign government guests. The organization said in February that it had donated $ 191,538 to the Treasury to disgorge money it made from foreign governments in the previous year, up from the $ 151,470 it handed over the previous year.

The lease is being sold unencumbered, meaning it doesn’t require maintaining the Trump hotel as the hotel’s manager or keeping it as a Trump branded hotel, though

Write to Craig Karmin at craig.karmin@wsj.com

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