President Trump’s inauguration committee was reportedly charged a rate of $175,000 per day to use event space at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., despite internal objections at the Trump Organization that the rates were too high.
A WNYC/ProPublica investigation published Friday reports that a spokesman confirmed the rate paid by the nonprofit inaugural committee, headed by Tom Barrack, which also reportedly spent $1.5 million at a hotel in which Barrack owns a small stake.
The report found that the rate was set despite serious objections from those involved in the planning of the event.
“Please take into consideration that when this is audited it will become public knowledge,” wrote Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a New York City-based event planner who suggested that an appropriate rate be closer to $85,000 per day according to the report.
Ari Krupkin, a Washington-based event planner, called the fee “more than egregious.”
Experts told WNYC/ProPublica that the rate raised questions of whether the inauguration committee was involved in self-dealing with the Trump Organization.
“It could be a tax law violation,” Brett Kappel, an Akerman LLP attorney specializing in nonprofits, told WNYC/ProPublica. “Those emails would be of great interest to the Internal Revenue Service if they were to conduct an audit. They probably will be of great interest to the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, which is investigating the inaugural committee.”
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