After his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States Donald Trump will be moving into the White House. He will be the first president to have recently opened a hotel just a few blocks from the White House, which one legal expert says presents a serious problem for Trump.
The Trump International Hotel, which boasts a whopping 263 rooms, is not actually owned by Trump. Instead Trump signed a 60-year lease in 2013 with the General Services Administration who own the building as it used to be the headquarters of the U.S. Post Office. A portion of the lease is of special interest according to a government procurement expert named Steven Schooner who happens to be George Washington University law professor. Schooner took the time to read the lease signed by Trump and said, “The contract between GSA and the Trump Organization specifically says that no elected official of the United States government shall be party to, share in, or benefit from the contract.”
Indeed, and clause 37.19 explicitly says:
No member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.
What exactly does this mean for Trump after his business spent $200 million renovating the property? Schooner says the lease should be terminated before Trump is inaugurated, and if they do not then the contract will automatically terminate itself upon Trump’s enacting of the presidency.
What does the General Services Administration have to say about this? So far they have stayed fairly mum, only to share they are going to “address any issues that may be related to the Old Post Office building.”