- The Washington Times - Friday, October 25, 2019

Dogged by ethics questions, the Trump Organization is reportedly looking to sell the leasing rights to its marquee hotel a few blocks from the White House.

The Trump family business leases the former Old Post Office Building from the federal government but is hoping to get $500 million, or $2 million per room key, for the rights.

It’s a price that would make it one of the biggest-ever deals of its kind, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the Trump Organization’s intentions Friday.

The Trump Organization hired Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a prominent real estate firm, to market the Trump International Hotel, according to Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization and one of President Trump’s sons.

“People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel and therefore we may be willing to sell,” Eric Trump said in a Trump Organization statement.

Mr. Trump has maintained ownership of his business empire after becoming president, though he has turned over day-to-day operations to his children.

Eric Trump said because his father is president, the company “imposed voluntary restrictions and have chosen not to market, nor solicit, foreign government business during his time in office.”

Investigations by press outlets have found foreign governments have poured money into his properties, including the D.C. hotel, since he took office.

Those sorts of moves had spawned lawsuits arguing the payments were the types of emoluments — essentially, profits from office — that are banned by the Constitution.

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court agreed to rehear a case in which Maryland and the District of Columbia accused Mr. Trump of violating that constitutional ban by earning income from his hotels while in office.

A three-judge appellate panel earlier this year tossed the lawsuit, in a win for Mr. Trump. But the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said it will hear the case again, with all the judges sitting.

It scheduled oral arguments for Dec. 12.

News of the Trump Organization’s interest also came days after the White House said it planned to host the Group of Seven nations meetings at Mr. Trump’s golf resort in Doral, Florida.

Facing withering criticism from both sides of the aisle, Mr. Trump canceled the plan about 48 hours later.

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