Donald Trump's D.C. Hotel Lease Should Be Canceled, Rep. Gerry Connolly Says

Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly has said the General Services Administration (GSA) should cancel the lease of former President Donald Trump's Washington, D.C. hotel.

Connolly, who represents Virginia's 11th congressional district, told MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show on Thursday that accounting firm Mazars' decision to cut business ties with the Trump Organization should prompt the GSA to act.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform, of which Connolly is a member, sent a letter to the GSA on Thursday expressing concern about whether Trump had violated the lease for the Trump International Hotel in in the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C.

Connolly told MSNBC that he hoped the GSA would "expedite their review" of the situation and reach the conclusion that Mazars' decision "negates the validity of any financial information or disclosure Trump has provided to GSA in justification for the lease he was granted six years ago."

"That ought to happen right away," he said.

"This could be fraud and GSA should have nothing to do with it and ought to do the right thing and pull the plug expeditiously," Connolly added.

Connolly discussed Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank, saying it had given him "favorable treatment," before being asked about CGI Merchant Group - a Florida-based investment firm that is trying to purchase the rights to Trump's D.C. hotel for a reported $375 million.

That figure is reportedly higher than the apparent market value of the hotel and would allow Trump to make a profit despite losing tens of millions of dollars from the hotel. Connolly questioned why anyone would want to make a purchase of this kind.

"Why would anyone pay a premium, above any kind of reasonable market value, for a lease on a hotel that's been losing money and Trump has been lying about it?" Connolly asked.

"And that's before the Mazars decision to essentially renounce 10 years of financial disclosures," he said.

Mazars cut business ties with the Trump Organization in a letter on February 9 that was released by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The firm said that 10 years' worth of financial records "should no longer be relied upon."

James is investigating whether the Trump Organization used fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain financial benefits such as loans and tax deductions. The Trump Organization has denied the allegations.

Connolly returned to the question of how quickly the GSA should act.

"No-one's above the law," Connolly said. "GSA should not be an enabler to enrich Donald Trump."

He accused Trump of engaging in "falsification" of financial information, valuations and income and said that shouldn't be rewarded.

"GSA can bring it all to a screaming halt and not see Trump rewarded for bad behavior by pulling the lease and pulling it now," Connolly said.

Trump submitted three years' worth of Statements of Financial Condition to the GSA in order to obtain the lease.

In the House Oversight Committee's letter to the GSA, they noted that those financial statements predated the 10-year period cited by Mazars, but argued they could still contain "potential misrepresentations about former President Trump's assets that are similar to those identified by state investigators."

A GSA spokesperson told Newsweek in a statement on Thursday that GSA "has taken, and will continue to take, steps to ensure that the tenant is in compliance with the terms and conditions of the lease."

"GSA is committed to ensuring a thorough and appropriate review process for the proposed transfer of the lease of the Old Post Office building," the spokesperson said.

Newsweek has asked the Trump Organization for comment.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington
The Trump international hotel is seen in Washington, DC, on February 15, 2022. Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly has said the lease for the hotel should be canceled. MANDEL NGAN / AFP/Getty Images

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