Former President Donald Trump once poked fun at New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, calling him a “drug addict” and a “prankster.”
But the batter showed up as part of an investment group preparing to buy Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel, according to people familiar with the deal, which could help the former president recover millions of dollars from his money-losing property.
Last year, the Trump organization reportedly struck a deal with Miami-based CGI Merchant Group to sell the lease on the Trump International Hotel, located just minutes away from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, for $375 million.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.
However, sources said the deal is actually being led by the Hospitality Opportunity Fund, a $650 million fund backed by serial investor Rodriguez.
Although industry insiders said that Rodriguez’s name was just a headline in a fund of hundreds of supporters, Trump’s critics were delighted by the apparent irony.
“This is further proof that the only thing that matters to Trump is money,” Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio said in an interview with The Associated Press that first reported Rodriguez’s involvement.
“If A-Rod can bail Trump out and get him out of his predicament and help him make a profit, he will take this deal. He’ll take it from Hillary Clinton.”
Former Yankees star Alex Rodriguez was one of the investors in a deal to buy the Trump International Hotel in Washington for $375 million.
The Trump Organization invested $200 million to refurbish the Old Post Office, and the building reopened as a luxury hotel in 2016, quickly establishing itself as a haven for Trump allies.
But a congressional panel said the hotel lost $73 million while Trump was in office.
The hotel was a popular spot during the Trump administration for fans of the ex-president, as well as diplomats and lobbyists hoping to curry favor.
However, the bustling atrium bar has been quiet since Trump stepped down.
Regardless, the hotel has some of the largest rooms in Washington, making it an attractive investment for the right owner.
The Wall Street Journal reported last year that the change in ownership would see it drop the Trump name and instead be run by the Hilton-owned Waldorf Astoria group.
Trump, a Yankees fan, was a vocal critic of Rodriguez during his playing days.
In 2013, a year before Major League Baseball suspended A-Rod for an entire season for illegal doping, he tweeted, “The Yankees should stop paying A-Rod immediately – he signed his contract without telling them that he’s a drug addict.” .’
He continued in the same vein.
“Friends A-Rod embarrassed the blessed Yankees, lied to fans and embarrassed New York. He doesn’t deserve to wear a stripe,” he wrote.
Trump allies, cabinet ministers or relatives were often spotted at the atrium bar. Pictured is Trump’s second wife Marla Marples and daughter Tiffany Trump.
And he went on to say that Rodriguez is probably making more money than the entire Houston Astros.
“Half of @astros players will have better seasons than him,” he wrote. “A-Rod is a joke!”
But their relationship seems to have improved since Rodriguez retired and turned his attention to business and TV appearances.
Two years ago, it was revealed that Trump called the star for advice on how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The president immediately called the reports “fake news,” but a source close to Rodriguez reportedly said the call was “pleasant.”
Despite this, Rodriguez and then-fiancee Jennifer Lopez supported Joe Biden in the election, appearing in online ads urging Latino voters to support the Democratic nominee.
The Trump International Hotel’s financials suggest the former president can’t be picky about customers.
The hotel’s regulars included former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas on September 20, 2019.
The oversight committee asked the head of the General Services Administration for more information after the hotel was found to have lost more than $70 million.
According to congressional investigators, the $375 million deal would mean the Trump organization made a profit after spending $200 million renovating the Old Post Office building and losing about $73 million during Trump’s four years in office.
They concluded that it was not only a source of income, but also “a bankrupt business, saddled with debt.”
“Taken together, these documents show that the Trump Hotel is far from a successful investment, but a failed business, saddled with debts that required bailouts from President Trump’s other businesses,” wrote Rep. Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Party. – start the monitoring panel.
“By choosing to hide the true financial condition of the Trump Hotel from federal ethics officials and the American public, President Trump covered up conflicts of interest stemming not only from his ownership of the hotel, but also from his role as the hotel’s lender and guarantor of its third party loans.
The commission was investigating potential conflicts arising from the Trump organization’s lease of the building from the General Services Administration, a government agency, when Trump was president.