Despite the rapacious fund-raising entreaties that Donald Trump has been regularly foisting upon his MAGA base — and the millions he subsequently rakes in after his copious fear-mongering lies — the fundamentals of his real estate empire are crumbling as a mountain of debt must soon be repaid, leaving the twice-impeached ex-president seemingly desperate to raise money.
With Trump’s mishandling of the COVID pandemic keeping typical office denizens working remotely at home, demand for office space is plummeting at the former guy’s previously premiere Fifth Avenue property, Trump Tower, where condo prices are also dropping as people try to avoid the stigma of living in a property branded with ignominy.
Even luxury jeweler Tiffany’s is leaving its Fifth Avenue Trump Tower location, removing $7 million from the Trump Organization cash flow, demonstrating just how toxic the Trump brand has become after its namesake’s disastrous presidency.
Now, Axios is reporting that Trump is in advanced discussions to raise much-needed capital by selling off his leasing rights to his signature Washington DC property, the Trump International Hotel, strategically located between the White House and Capitol Hill on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Trump’s continued ownership and operation of the Hotel during his administration became quite controversial as many people saw the inherent conflict of interest in the president using the property as a way to extract cash from people who sought his favor whether they be foreign diplomats, corporate lobbyists, or GOP politicians looking to advance their careers.
With the hotel property — which was converted from Washington’s old Post Office building — being rented from the federal government’s General Services Administration, Trump was essentially his own landlord, yet accusations of the arrangement being a magnet for prohibited emoluments fell on deaf ears while he was still in office.
Instead, the Trump International Hotel became the de rigueur meeting place for GOP politicians, party operatives, and the lobbyists who love to court them, raking in beaucoups bucks for the former president in the process.
Axios says that the current plan is for Trump to sell the leasing rights to the property “to a real estate developer, who in turn would negotiate with hotel companies that would manage the property and rebrand it.”
Trump initially tried to sell the lease back in 2019, reportedly asking $500 million for the property rights.
Real estate experts believe that in the current economic environment — where the hospitality industry has suffered greatly from the effects of the pandemic that Trump mismanaged — he is unlikely to approach that figure.
With Trump no longer in office, the Trump International Hotel has seen its revenue drop by 60%, according to a report in The Washington Post.
Savvy buyers interested in taking over the hotel and exorcizing its tainted political stench may be wise to wait until Trump is indicted by New York prosecutors for the tax issues they have been investigating for quite some time now before making an offer.
A seller’s desperation generally results in a better deal for the buyer.
It’s difficult to feel any pity for Trump’s financial problems now, given that they are primarily of his own making.
Whoever eventually takes over the hotel should consider erecting an appropriate memorial commemorating the property’s notoriety during this fraught time to warn future generations of the dangers of corrupt politicians
Original reporting by Jonathan Swan at Axios.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.