The Old Post Office Hotel, a luxury-brand Trump family hotel purported to serve as a “showcase” for daughter Ivanka Trump’s renovation chops, also serves as a showcase for the family’s propensity to renege on their contractual obligations, the Washington Post reports.
The Trump International Hotel—which opened in September 2016—is already facing potential conflict-of-interests, including questions over whether Trump’s election violates the building’s lease. Now, it appears another conflict has arisen from the Old Post Office renovation, this time related to the family’s unwillingness to pay for work rendered.
“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.”
Miller said around the same time as Trump’s hotel ribbon cutting ceremony, where the president-elect congratulated himself and his family on finishing “under budget and ahead of schedule,” the Trump Organization’s construction manager Lendlease stopped paying his electrical company. According to a lien filed by AES, the electrical company is out $2.1 million for the D.C. hotel.
“Merry Christmas and a happy new year to us,” Miller told the Washington Post.
As the Post notes, the AES filing brings the total of unpaid bills stemming from Ivanka’s “showcase” hotel to over $5 million. Joseph J. Magnolia Inc., a plumbing firm, filed a lien alleging $2.98 million in unpaid fees. A&D Construction says it is owed $79,700.
“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,” a representative for the Trump Organization told the Post. “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 the most iconic hotels anywhere in the country.”
Miller told the Post he almost considered not coming forward with the Trump’s failure to pay because he did not want it to become a political issue.
“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 are effectively financing this work, and we don’t think it’s right,” he continued. “That’s really it.”