Trump D.C. Hotel Contractors Say They're Owed Millions Liens filed by construction firms against the Trump Organization's new luxury Washington hotel claim they're owed more than $5 million for unpaid work. The federal government holds the building lease.
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Trump D.C. Hotel Contractors Say They're Owed Millions

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Trump D.C. Hotel Contractors Say They're Owed Millions

Trump D.C. Hotel Contractors Say They're Owed Millions

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

After construction wrapped up on his new hotel in Washington, D.C., President-elect Donald Trump declared it the height of luxury. The Trump Organization spent $200 million to renovate the historic post office building, redoing all the woodwork, upgrading plumbing and electric systems. But several companies say they haven't been fully paid for that work and have filed liens against the Trump Hotel. NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

JACKIE NORTHAM, BYLINE: In late October, just weeks ahead of the election, President-elect Trump made a quick detour to Washington for the official opening of his new five-star hotel just a few blocks from the White House. It included a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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DONALD TRUMP: One, two, three.

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NORTHAM: Trump told the crowd that the two-year renovation project was done ahead of schedule and under budget thanks to what he called an incredible team of people.

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TRUMP: Including hundreds of construction workers, electricians, maintenance workers and so many others who helped make this project a reality. They're really the important ones.

NORTHAM: And now some of those companies would like final payment for their work. Documents obtained by NPR show three Washington-area companies have filed liens against Trump International Hotel totaling $5 million. Richard Sissman is the lawyer for a subcontracting construction firm that says it's still owed about $80,000 for woodwork done on the hotel.

RICHARD SISSMAN: Trim and case work and architectural millwork, wall base crown molding - this is all fine carpentry. On these big jobs these should be paid. It's ridiculous that a small-time operator has to beg for its money.

NORTHAM: Trump has faced many liens and lawsuits for alleged non-payment for work in the past. Steven Schooner with the George Washington University Law School says resolving the liens in this case could ultimately involve the federal government because it holds the lease on the building where the Trump Hotel is located.

STEVEN SCHOONER: The way the lease is structured, it says that they may step in and discharge the lien, but they're not actually required to.

NORTHAM: Still, Schooner says, as a rule the government wants its tenants - like Trump Hotel - to solve their own problems. Requests for comment from Trump's communication team about the liens were not returned. Jackie Northam, NPR News, Washington.

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