First hotel in new Trump chain seeks Mississippi tax breaks | KOB 4
Advertisement

First hotel in new Trump chain seeks Mississippi tax breaks

Suresh Chawla, Eric Danziger Suresh Chawla, Eric Danziger |  Photo: AP

By BERNARD CONDON
February 09, 2018 05:51 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A Mississippi developer that has joined with the Trump Organization to open the first of possibly dozens of hotels in the U.S. president's new mid-priced chain has applied for millions of dollars of state tax breaks.

Advertisement

Chawla Hotels filed an application in December for a tax break with the Mississippi Development Authority worth as much as 30 percent of eligible construction costs, or roughly $6 million, CEO Dinesh Chawla said Friday.

The Trump Organization announced a deal with the hotel company in June as part of the rollout of two new chains, drawing complaints from ethics experts that government officials and local real estate partners might offer special favors to the president's business to curry favor with him.

President Donald Trump faces several lawsuits that allege he is violating the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution forbidding presidents from accepting gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.

In an effort to resolve conflicts of interest issues, Trump handed management control of his company to his two adult sons before he took office last year. Critics say that's not good enough, and that he needs to sell his ownership interest in his business to resolve what they claim as emoluments violations.

The president's lawyers have argued that normal business transactions don't fall under the emoluments prohibition.

Chawla said he's sees nothing wrong with his company applying for tax breaks, which were first reported by The New York Times.

"I'm not a legal scholar, but I'm an ethical business person," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I don't toss the word 'Trump' around. I don't ask anyone for favors."

Chawla said his company has already received abatements on city and county taxes.

The Trump Organization had no comment.

The Trump Organization, which is based in New York, announced its two new chains — the mid-priced Scion, and the budget-priced American Idea — with great fanfare last year. Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger said he expected dozens of Scions, for instance, in short order.

But the chains have gotten off to a slow start, with only Chawla Hotels agreeing to join up with the company so far.

Chawla said that he expects it will cost $20 million to build his Trump hotel, which will be a Scion. The hotel in Cleveland, Mississippi, will be the first in Trump's new chain.

Credits

By BERNARD CONDON

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Advertisement



Advertisement

Relay Media Amp

Advertisement


Advertisement




1 dead, 1 in custody after shootout in SE Albuquerque

Crews cleaning up fuel spill near Rio Bravo/I-25

Send Steve Where?: Biscochitos a unique, tasty source of pride for New Mexico

New Mexico lawmaker vents his frustration about Trump tax overhaul

Police: Your go-to convenience store ATM may be stealing your information