14th December 2018
Ivanka Trump reportedly oversaw negotiations for the price her father’s inaugural committee paid the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., for venue rentals.
A planner for the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee emailed Ivanka Trump and other Trump Organization employees to “express my concern” about potential event-space overcharging by the hotel and what could occur “when this is audited.” Any charges over the going rate could be violations of tax law.
Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump’s lawyer Abbe Lowell, downplayed Ivanka’s role:
“When contacted by someone working on the inauguration, Ms. Trump passed the inquiry on to a hotel official and said only that any resulting discussions should be at a ‘fair market rate. Ms. Trump was not involved in any additional discussions.”
Ivanka Trump referred Rick Gates, who was deputy to the inaugural chairman, to hotel managing director Mickael Damelincourt.
The original price was unclear, but Damelincourt offered a new $175,000-per-day rate for the Presidential Ballroom and other meeting rooms, and $700,000 for four days.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, an inauguration lead organizer, emailed Ivanka Trump and Gates:
“I wanted to follow up on our conversation and express my concern. These events are in PE’s [the president-elect’s] honor at his hotel and one of them is for family and close friends. Please take into consideration that when this is audited it will become public knowledge.”
Wolkoff wrote that the inaugural committee had been offered other event spaces free of charge. Wolkoff asked for a daily rate of $85,000.
Trump’s inaugural committee raised a record $107 million but donated only $3 million to hurricane relief efforts, and $1.75 million to groups that maintain the White House and home of the vice president. $51 million was divided roughly in half between two companies, including WIS Media Partners, a firm founded by Wolkoff, who is a longtime friend of first lady Melania Trump.