U.S. Democrats urge government to weigh canceling Trump hotel lease

Former U.S. President Trump
Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during his first post-presidency campaign rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, U.S., June 26, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton//File Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. government should consider canceling former President Donald Trump's lease of a historic Washington building he made into a luxury hotel before he sells it, a U.S. congressional committee said on Thursday.

The committee in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives said recent developments indicated his Trump Organization may have filed inaccurate financial statements when the government leased the property to him before he ran for president.

Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Gerald Connolly, the two leading Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Committee, wrote to ask the U.S. General Services Administration, the federal property manager, to consider terminating the lease, rather than allowing him to sell it for profit.

"No one should be rewarded for providing false or misleading information to the federal government or for seeking to profit off the presidency," they wrote.

The hotel, at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, became a gathering point for Trump supporters and some foreign government officials during his presidency, and a sticking point for critics who said it violated ethics laws.

Trump's company reached a deal last year to sell the money-losing hotel to Miami investment firm CGI Merchant Group for $375 million, which could net him a $100 million profit, according to media reports.

New York Attorney General Letitia James accuses Trump and his family of misrepresenting their real estate assets in order to obtain bank loans and lower tax bills. Trump, a Republican, accuses James, a Democrat, of a political witch hunt. read more

Trump's former accounting firm, Mazars USA, said this month it could no longer stand behind a decade of financial statements and said it was dropping the Trump Organization as a client. read more

The committee said those developments cast doubt on the accuracy of financial statements the Trump Organization submitted in 2010 when it applied for the lease and in 2013 when it applied for a construction loan.

Reporting by Andy Sullivan; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Howard Goller

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