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Tag: hotels

House Democrats Demand Secret Service Payments to Trump Organization

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

House Democrats are asking the Secret Service to disclose how much money it is spending at President Trump’s company while protecting him at his properties, often while he’s golfing.

The request comes after The Washington Post revealed that the Secret Service was spending as much as $650 per night for rooms for each agent. The costs added up to more than $471,000 for stays between January 2017 and April 2018.

In a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and Jackie Speier requested payment records and any contracts between the Trump Organization and the Secret Service.

“The payment of rates far above government rates and the Trump Administration’s lack of transparency raise serious concerns about the use of taxpayer dollars and raise questions about government spending at other Trump properties,” Maloney and Speier wrote in the letter. “These concerns are heightened since President Trump has spent a third of his presidency at his private clubs and hotels, and his Treasury Secretary has attempted to shield Secret Service expenses from public scrutiny.”

The letter notes that Eric Trump, the president’s son and executive Vice President of the Trump Organization, told Yahoo Finance that the government “saves a fortune” when it stays at properties he owns. But records show the payments are higher than usual.

The House Democrats also criticized the Secret Service’s failure to disclose the “full scope of its payments to the president’s businesses or its expenses for presidential travel to his own properties.”

Ex-LA U.S. Atty. Writes Check After Getting Busted for Ripping Off Taxpayers: He’s 1 of 5 U.S. Attys Cited in IG Report

Thomas O'Brien/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Former Los Angeles U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O’Brien says he wrote a check this week reimbursing the government in instances where he stayed in hotel rooms that cost more than the government-approved rate, the Los Angeles Times reported.

O’Brien was one of five U.S. Attorneys cited in a Justice Department Inspector General report released Monday who went beyond the government approved rate on different occasions. The report, which covered the years 2007 to 2009, did not identify the U.S. Attorney’s by name.

But two others names identified in media reports included former New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who is now governor of New Jersey,  and former Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan.

Mary Beth Buchanan

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which identified Buchanan, reported that the violators weren’t required to reimburse taxpayers because rules at the time allowed U.S. Attorney’s to approve their own travel.

The report found that some of O’Brien’s claims for reimbursement were “inappropriate and egregious violations” of the travel policies, the Times reported. It said the total overage amounted to $903.

The Times reported that O’Brien, now in private practice, denied any misconduct, but takes “full responsibility” for any oversights.

The Times reported that O’Brien said all his travel was approved by Washington and that he was not asked to repay for the overages,, he did so on Tuesday, one day after the report was released.

The Pittsburg Post-Gazette wrote that Buchanan had overages of $4,221.

The Post-Gazette reported that in June Buchanan said she had always followed department rules if she had gone over the government rate.

Gov. Chris Christie/state photo

Chris Christie

“I can assure you the process was followed each and every time,” she said, according to the paper.

As for Christie, the report, which identified him only as “U.S. Attorney C”, said :  “These 14 vouchers exceeded the government rate by $19 to $242 per night, for a total of $2,176 (excluding taxes for domestic travel). U.S. Attorney C’s lodging costs exceeded the government rate by more than $100 per night on 9 of the 14 vouchers.”

He has publicly declined to comment on the report.

The report said Christie — considered a rising star in the Republican party – stayed at the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston for $449 per night and the $475-per-night Four Seasons Hotel in Washington at a cost of more than double the government rate for those cities.

The website Main Justice was the first to identify Christie as a violator.

Read report.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Non-Criminal Illegal Immigrants to be Held in Converted Hotels Instead of Jail

Better treatment, but still no cheeseburgers for room service
Better treatment, but still no cheeseburgers for room service

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — They won’t be able to order up a late night cheeseburger for room service at this Inn, but it sure beats jail.

Homeland Secretary Janet Napoloitano on Tuesday announced plans to hold illegal immigrants who haven’t committed a crime in converted hotels rather than jails, Reuters news service reported. The agency has been sharply criticized by human rights groups for the way it has treated noncriminal illegal immigrants.

“This is a system that encompasses many different types of detainees, not all of whom need to be held in prison-like circumstances,” Napolitano told a conference call, according to Reuters.

To read more, click here.

Fed Grand Jury Probing Hilton Hotels in Theft of Documents

hilton-hotels

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nothing like a good hotel war wrapped in a scandal.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a federal grand jury is probing whether Hilton Worldwide and several former executives swiped thousands of pages of confidential documents from rival Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

The paper, attributing the information to “people familiar with the situation”, said the grand jury is part of a six month Justice probe “into allegations that Hilton, which is owned by private-equity firm Blackstone Group, used trade secrets taken by former Starwood executives, who defected to Hilton last year, to develop its own luxury brand to compete with Starwood’s successful W chain.”

Interesting. And you thought Paris Hilton was the only interesting thing about the Hilton hotels.