The General Services Administration said in a letter Thursday that the Trump Organization didn’t receive any relief on the lease payments for its hotel in Washington, DC, because it did not make a written request.
The letter came in response to an inquiry from Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and four House Democrats regarding a New York Times report last month that said the Trump Organization had asked the federal government to give President Donald Trump’s DC hotel a break on its monthly lease payments during the coronavirus pandemic.
The GSA states in its letter, however, that it issued guidance on May 6 — after the Times story was published — that requires tenants to make any requests for rent relief in writing. The Trump Organization never made a written request and thus did not receive a break on its lease payments.
“As you will see, the Guidance, among other things, requires outlease tenants to submit requests for rent relief in writing. To date, GSA has not received from the Tenant any written request for rent relief, and no such relief has been granted,” the letter said.
The communication from the GSA comes after Eric Trump, one of the President’s sons who oversees the family business, confirmed the request to the Times last month and said they were asking the GSA about relief the agency may be giving other federal tenants.
“Just treat us the same,” Eric Trump told the Times. “Whatever that may be is fine.”
The pandemic has devastated the hospitality sector, with mass furloughs and layoffs. Some hotels have closed temporarily while others fight to stay open with skeleton staffs.
CNN has reported that Trump properties have collectively furloughed thousands of employees across several states as businesses are forced to close to stop the spread of the virus. As a result, the pandemic is costing Trump Organization properties more than a million dollars in lost revenue daily, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But the President’s family businesses are in a category of companies barred from receiving certain kinds of aid from the Treasury Department to ease the economic impact of the pandemic.
The stimulus deal the Senate approved in March prohibits loans or investments from Treasury programs to be used to benefit businesses controlled by the President, the vice president, the heads of executive departments and members of Congress.
The prohibition extends to the children, spouses and in-laws of any of these government officials.