Like Father, Like Daughter: Ivanka Trump Stiffs DC Hotel Contractors To The Tune Of $5 Million
It was meant to “showcase” Ivanka Trump’s fondness for renovation, but what the Old Post Office Hotel showcased instead, was the Trump family’s bad habit of reneging on any contractual obligations, notes The Washington Post.
This Hotel Has Been Open Less Than Six Months, Yet Its Already Causing Legal Trouble
The hotel reopened as the Trump International Hotel in September 2016, and in an almost unimaginably short amount of time it’s already facing potential conflict-of-interests, which include questions as to whether Trump’s election violates the building’s lease, Raw Story reports. But there’s another conflict afoot, and once again it seems to be related to Donald Trump and family’s reluctance to pay for work rendered.
During a harried six weeks of work at the hotel, as Trump highlighted the project while stumping on the campaign trail, AES, based in Laurel, Md., reported it assigned 45 members of its staff to work 12-hour shifts for nearly 50 consecutive days, so that the lights, electrical and fire systems were prepared on time.
“We had people there well over 12 hours a day for weeks because they had a hard opening of Sept. 12 and you can’t open if the lights don’t work and the fire alarms don’t work and the fire marshal can’t inspect it,” Tim Miller, executive vice president of AES Electrical, which worked on the hotel, told the Post. “There is a lot of work that went into that hotel, and it didn’t happen by accident.”
And Trump’s dream came true. The hotel was ready enough that he was able to hold a campaign event there, honoring veterans on Sept. 16, and this was even covered on live television. He boasted the hotel was completed “under budget and ahead of schedule,” saying that when it opened officially the following month it would be “one of the great hotels anywhere in the world.”
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But at just about this time, Miller said the Trump Organization and Lendlease, its construction manager, quit paying AES. And just three days before Christmas, AES filed a mechanic’s lien with the D.C. government alleging that it was out of nearly $2.1 million.
“Merry Christmas and a happy new year to us,” Miller said.
The filing by AES now raises the total of allegedly unpaid bills on the hotel to more than $ million. The Washington-based plumbing firm Joseph J. Magnolia Inc., and Northern Virginia construction company, A&D Construction, seek $2.98 million and $79,700 respectively.
John D. Magnolia is the plumbing company’s president, and he voted for Trump in November. Trump’s people have paid most of the bills, Wonkette reports, but there’s still $3 million left outstanding, and that has him worried, especially with the controversy over whether Trump is violating his lease once he takes office. Neither Trump nor Ivanka have called, he said.
“They have been decent people and so forth but the issues that are going on now, with all the talk about removing him from the lease we are concerned about what is going to happen there. So it’s basically a business decision that we had to make,” he said. “We’re kind of working through that right now. Unfortunately Mr. Trump and Ivanka and so forth, they are I guess preoccupied by other matters now. They are trying to go run the country. So we’ll just see what happens.”
The Post reports a representative for Lendlease referred comments on the liens to the Trump Organization. For its part, the Trump Organization didn’t elaborate on the specifics of the legal action.
“In developments of this scale and complexity the filing of nominal liens at the conclusion of construction is not uncommon as part of the close out process,” wrote a representative for the company. “In the case of Trump International Hotel, Washington D.C., the Trump Organization has invested over $200 million dollars into the redevelopment of the historic Old Post Office and is incredibly proud of what is now considered to be one of the most iconic hotels anywhere in the country.”
Miller considered not bringing the issue up in public because he doesn’t want to make a political issue out of it. AES had a $17 million contract with the Trumps, and all that’s left to be paid is the final $2 million, he said.
“The majority of that [final] work was done in the last 45 days or so before the hotel opened and it required a tremendous amount of manpower and effort on our part to get that done because it was a crunch to get the hotel open,” he said.
He added that he just didn’t want the company, family-owned and founded 32 years ago, to have to swallow the costs. The hotel has a pricetag around #112 million, while Trump claims he is worth $10 billion.
“We’re not in this for any sort of political reasons,” Miller said. “We have no ax to grind, political or otherwise. We’re a business. We have 700 employees that we pay every week. We have bills. We are effectively financing this work, and we don’t think it’s right. That’s really it.”
This begs the question: If Trump gets to build that much-talked about costly wall between the U.S. and Mexico, what’s he going to do?
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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