Trump Organization Seals a Deal
To Sell Trump International Hotel
Donald Trump’s business empire plans to sell its lease to its Washington, D.C. hotel for $375 million to a Miami-based investment firm.
In addition to ending financial problems for the hotel, the deal also is likely to halt political controversy that ensnared Trump International Hotel since its opening in 2016.
The purchaser, CGI Merchant Group, plans to rebrand the hotel as a Waldorf Astoria, according to a story first reported by The Wall Street Journal. CGI is partnering with hotelier Hilton Worldwide Holdings to buy the hotel a short walk from the White House.
The deal still requires approval from the U.S. General Service Administration, which leased the building to the Trump Organization in 2012 on a condition that the soon-to-be president renovate it for his planned hotel. The building was formerly used as a post office but remains government property.
The Trump Organization agreed to invest $200 million to convert the building into a 261-room luxury hotel. The organization also agreed to pay the General Services Administration $3 million a year in rent.
D.C. in Brief
We Could Use Your Help
Thousands of DC residents need a lawyer, but can’t afford one. They could be illegally evicted from their homes, lose custody of their children, experience domestic violence, and more, all because they lack legal representation.
You could make a difference. By making a donation to the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, you will provide free, high-quality, zealous legal representation to low-income DC residents. Click the photo above to make a donation today.
Your support could prevent homelessness, domestic violence, hunger, or family separation. In fact, if just 10 people who see this ad give $28 to Legal Aid, it will be enough to staff an experienced attorney at the courthouse for a day.
That way, DC residents like Keith King (pictured above) can get the legal representation they need to win their cases. As Mr. King put it, if it wasn’t for his Legal Aid lawyer, “I would have been homeless again.”
Here is the link to the Legal Aid website for donations: https://www.legalaiddc.org/donate-to-legal-aid/
For more information, contact Rob Pergament at Legal Aid at email@example.com
800 4th Street SW, No. N517 Washington, DC 20024
Phone: 240-421-6395 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Political Action Committee Operators
Charged with Fraud from Trump Election
The Justice Department plans to prosecute three men for allegedly running scam political action committees that raised $3.5 million for 2016 presidential campaigns but donated only $19 to help former President Donald Trump get elected.
Instead, they used the money for lavish lifestyles, according to a Justice Department announcement.
The prosecutions represent a rare occurrence for the Justice Department. Scam PACs have been a problem for a long time but tracing the money in a way that would allow the operators to face criminal charges has been elusive.
“Matthew Nelson Tunstall, 34, of Los Angeles, California; Robert Reyes, Jr., 38, of Hollister, California; and Kyle George Davies, 29, of Austin, Texas, solicited contributions to Liberty Action Group PAC and Progressive Priorities PAC under the guise that the PACs were affiliated with or meaningfully supporting specified candidates for public office,” the Justice Department last week statement says.
The candidates mentioned in the indictment are Trump and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Legal Forum welcomes letters to the editor at email@example.com, which will be published here.
Letters to the Editor
Power the Civil Rights Work of Our Time
Each day members of our community are experiencing wage theft, the effects of gentrification, discriminatory policing, collateral consequences, marginalization in schools, and barriers to public accommodations.
We fight alongside people facing the effects of gentrification like Amira Moore. Our work empowers the people and communities who need it most, “We can do more than we think. There’s a path to equity, we just have to step to it.” –Ms. Moore
For more than 50 years, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee has been on the frontlines of the fight for civil rights in our community. We deploy the best legal talent, we tackle the tough cases, we fight, and we win.
Our work is as important today as it has ever been. Through your support, you can play a role in creating justice for thousands of marginalized members of our community. Together, we will dismantle injustice and pursue lasting change.
Join us! Donate & subscribe: https://www.washlaw.org/support-us
Volunteer with us: https://www.washlaw.org/get-involved/
For more information, contact Gregg Kelley at Gregg_Kelley@washlaw.org
The Legal Forum is a nonprofit news service for the Washington area's legal community that also offers attorney job listings as well as amicus briefs and grant information for charitable organizations. If you have questions, please Contact Us
Gay Activists Ask Congress
For Law to Ensure Inclusion
A Washington, D.C.-based advocate for gay rights testified to Congress last week about the gay community’s dilemma in trying to be included as normal parts of society but facing an uphill struggle against discrimination.
Witnesses at the hearing said gay people endure fewer job offerings, more homelessness and reduced financial opportunities.
About 18 million American adults identify as gay but 27 states have no laws to protect them based on their sexual orientation in housing and employment.
One of the states is Texas, where a federal judge in Fort Worth ruled this month that business owners with religious beliefs are protected from discrimination claims by gay employees.
The court’s decision came in a lawsuit by Christian health care company Braidwood Management Inc. as it sought a ruling to support its ban on hiring homosexuals. The company owner refuses to allow employees to engage in “homosexual behavior or gender non-conforming conduct of any sort,” according to its court filings.
Although the company is located in Texas, the ruling on issues of federal law are likely to influence similar cases nationwide.
Homeland Security Dept. Warns
Of Terrorist Threat During Holidays
Washington’s legal and political communities are top targets identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in an advisory last week about terrorism risks.
The United States faces a “heightened threat environment” from domestic extremists and foreign terrorist groups through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, the agency warned.
The advisory resulted partly from Homeland Security monitoring of extremists’ social media messages, some of which express outrage over COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions. They also suggest violent revenge against politicians, police and others who support or carry out the mandates.
“The ongoing global pandemic continues to exacerbate these threats, in part due to perceived government overreach in implementation of public health safety measures,” the National Threat Advisory System Bulletin says.
One set of intercepted extremist messages advocated an attack on an Amazon Web Service warehouse in Virginia.
“The plot highlights a departure from traditional targets and signifies potential willingness to attack private entities believed to be supporting or enabling the government’s perceived abuse of power,” according to an FBI Joint Intelligence Bulletin.
The bulletin did not warn of a specific U.S. target but did say explosives carried by drones or deadly chlorine gas could be used for the attacks.
Another social media message monitored by law enforcement asked, “How long before a politician is killed for mandating vaccines?”
At the same time, Islamic extremists are reportedly regrouping after the U.S. military exit from Afghanistan allowed them to regain control over the country.
Maryland's New Anti-Hate Program
Seeks to Protect Asian Americans
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced details last week for his plan to confront hate crimes and bias against Asian Americans.
The plan is based largely on creating greater awareness among law enforcement officers, educators and civic leaders.
Hogan said that in Maryland “hate crimes targeting Asian Americans have doubled since 2018.” Nationally they increased 150 percent in 2020.
“We’re going to update hate and bias training for law enforcement agencies,” Hogan said. Part of the update would include hiring officers who speak “multiple languages.”
The state is increasing hate crime prevention funding from $3 million to $5 million. Some of the money would go to the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center to share data about Asian American hate crimes with the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.
A primary method of reporting hate crimes is by calling Maryland’s 2-1-1 phone number. Under Hogan’s initiative, a secondary network for reporting incidents is being coordinated among churches, community centers and nonprofit organizations.
“Because too many incidents continue to go unreported, and unpunished, we’re publishing a ‘how to report hate crimes and incidents’ document which will be available in Asian languages,” Hogan said. It would be posted online.
The educational component of his plan would include Asian American history courses in public schools and scholarships at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland for Asian American students.
Hogan made the announcement while accompanied by his wife, who is Korean American, and members of the state’s Asian American Hate Crimes Workgroup.