Gordon Sondland's efforts to shield President Donald Trump from accountability in the Ukraine scandal has been bad for his personal business.
The U.S. ambassador to the European Union has twice updated his closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry after other witnesses implicated him in the scheme, and social media users are venting their frustration against his hotel chain on Yelp, reported The Daily Beast.
“If you're looking for a hotel owned by a Trump supporter who gave the campaign a million dollars in exchange for an ambassadorship that he's unqualified for so he can extort foreign leaders into attacking fellow Americans, look no further,” wrote one reviewer about The Revolution Hotel in Boston. “BONUS: plush bath robes and white hoods available in each room.”
Sondland founded and formerly served as chairman of Provenance Hotels, which owns and manages 14 boutique hotels across the U.S. -- but his service under Trump has badly dented the brand.
Customers once raved about the hotels, but since his role in the Ukraine scheme has become known, they have been peppered with one-star reviews.
“Booked a rez and then discovered Dossier is owned by Gordon Sondland, a MAJOR TRUMP DONOR," one user wrote about Portland’s Dossier Hotel. "Cancel!”
The negative reviews usually mention Sondland's ties to Trump and the impeachment saga, and ask potential customers whether they want to show their support for the president's actions by booking a room.
“I used to be an infrequent customer here but I'm appalled to learn that the owner, Gordon Sondland … was heavily involved in the Trump Ukraine scandal,” wrote one user about Portland's Heathman Hotel. “I won't be patronizing this business anymore, nor the others that he owns.”
“Do you want to support him?” another Yelp user asked.
The 62-year-old Republican was a latecomer to the president's 2016, but he eventually donated $1 million in hopes of landing an ambassadorship -- which he did -- and now his wife's fears are coming true.
Katherine Durant, a real estate investor and registered Democrat, expressed concern last month that Sondland's ties to Trump would dent their hotel's brand, after their congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) called for a boycott of the chain.
"Anyone who cares about America should not do any business or stay at any of Gordon Sondland's hotels. Not until he fulfills his duty as a citizen to testify and turn over all relevant documents to the House of Representatives," Blumenauer said in a statement. "Nobody is above the law. Mr. Sondland and the entire Trump administration need to be reminded of that."
A Portland newspaper found broad support for the boycott in an unscientific poll, and it's not yet clear whether the hotels have taken a financial hit -- but their reputation has been shredded online.
“He takes the money, and uses it to buy things he wants,” one negative reviewer, Russell Sciandra, told The Daily Beast. “I can only imagine what the Europeans think of this buffoon... he’s only doing it because he’s got a lot of money from his hotel business. Some of my pennies went towards buying that ambassadorship for this clown!”
The 72-year-old retiree felt compelled to tell potential customers about the company's association with Trump and the Ukraine scandal.
“He obviously gets a big thrill, and thinks he’s a big shot,” Sciandra said. “He’s way in over his head. Go back to running hotels.”