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Ivanka Trump Questioned in Suit Over Inaugural Hotel Cost

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 12/3/2020 Joel Rosenblatt
Ivanka Trump wearing a blue hat: Ivanka Trump, assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump, listens during a roundtable discussion with William Barr, U.S. attorney general, federal, state, and local officials, not pictured, at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. Barr said the federal government is awarding more than $100 million in grants to target human trafficking. The money will go to task forces combatting human trafficking, to victim services and victim housing, reports the Associated Press. © Bloomberg Ivanka Trump, assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump, listens during a roundtable discussion with William Barr, U.S. attorney general, federal, state, and local officials, not pictured, at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. Barr said the federal government is awarding more than $100 million in grants to target human trafficking. The money will go to task forces combatting human trafficking, to victim services and victim housing, reports the Associated Press.

(Bloomberg) -- Ivanka Trump was interviewed by District of Columbia lawyers in a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee of illegally overpaying for events at a Washington hotel owned by his family business.

The deposition of the president’s daughter, a top White House aide, was taken Tuesday and is one of many key interviews taken in recent months, according to a filing in a case brought by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine that also disclosed First Lady Melania Trump has been subpoenaed for documents.

Lawyers for Racine also have deposed Mickael Damelincourt, the managing director of the Trump hotel in downtown Washington and Eric Danziger, who runs Trump’s hotel business, as well as Thomas Barrack Jr., a longtime friend of the president’s and chairman of the inauguration committee, according to the filing. The content of the depositions wasn’t disclosed or described.

Ivanka Trump sharply criticized the lengthy deposition and Racine’s suit in a tweet on Thursday, denying any overcharging took place.

“Ms. Trump’s only involvement was connecting the parties and instructing the hotel to charge a ‘fair market rate,’ which the hotel did,” said Alan Garten, the chief legal officer for the Trump Organization.

The White House declined to comment.

Read More: Trump Inaugural Committee Overpaid Trump Hotel, Suit Says

Filed in January in District of Columbia Superior Court, the case is one of numerous and varied legal actions Trump, his family and associates face as the president reenters private life next month.

Racine, a Democrat, argues that Trump’s inaugural committee made an unjustified payment of more than $1 million to the Trump hotel for events from Jan. 17 to Jan. 20, 2017, after failing to consider less expensive alternatives.

The depositions were reported earlier by CNN.

Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit watchdog group, in January cited documents from the lawsuit to claim that the Trump Organization charged the inaugural committee almost six times the average cost for the most basic rooms and eight times the average cost for higher-tiered rooms.

“While it’s typical for Washington area hotels to charge guests more around a presidential inauguration, in this case, the exorbitant prices paid by the incoming president’s political supporters went into that president’s pocket,” CREW said in a statement at the time.

In an email Thursday, Garten said the rates charged at the Trump hotel “were completely in line with what other five-star hotels charged” in the Washington area during the inauguration festivities.

The case is District of Columbia v. 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee, 2020 CA 000488 B, Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(Updates with allegations made by nonprofit group.)

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