I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request back in March of 2017 for all complaints sent to the General Services Administration (GSA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) about President Trump's lease of the Old Post Office. And while there are hundreds of complaints, it looks like the GSA really doesn't care.
When Donald Trump became president on January 20, 2017, he immediately violated the terms of his lease for the Old Post Office in Washington DC, a building owned by the federal government. Leased in 2013 for the Trump International Hotel, the terms say that any federal official can't profit from the lease, which is precisely what Trump is now doing. As president, he's essentially his own landlord.
Amazingly, the GSA ruled that Trump hadn't violated the terms of the lease. That was back in March, and the Trump Organization has been grifting the American public ever since.
So what do the complaints say? Many of hundreds of complaints are clearly part of a write-in campaign. The most popular letter is below.
But there are plenty of others that were written by American citizens who expressed their horror at the GSA lease in depth. One such letter appears below.
Dear GSA & OGE Leadership:
I’m writing for two reasons:
1. To say thank you for the important services you provide to Americans. We largely take for granted the conveniences and quality of life afforded us by responsibly-managed government infrastructure and services.
I’ve supported the nonprofit sector for 10 years and guided several medium-sized organizations through state and federal audits (among many other duties primarily related to fundraising and development). During ARRA I was excited to see new standards for accountability in managing federal, state and county funds. I said (and say) no to grants that weren’t a good fit, and insist that partners follow the rule and spirit of laws & guidelines. I’ve done turnaround work in many nonprofits and strive for excellence.
My ethics cost me a job I loved, as Development Director in a community action agency, when I stood up to a new Executive Director who rewarded inexperienced friends with jobs at high salaries and misspent ARRA funds that were meant to lift low-income families out of poverty. [Redacted] bullied a few members of the board in a secret executive session, firing me without disciplinary action or appeal; at will termination of a whistleblower. [Redacted] was cold to my plight and vengeful, even fighting successfully to deny me unemployment, in spite of a great track record at the job. Sound like someone we now all know?
Now that you know I understand sacrifice and public service, as well as terrible leadership, here's my next reason for writing:
2. To ask you in the name of all that is sacred and honored, DON'T allow Donald Trump to keep the Old Post Office lease. You must know his business philosophy is “Say whatever I need to; do whatever I want”. Hasn't he already overstepped boundaries and ignored guidance and agreements related to the lease provisions?
We all have to stand up to “Trumpism” – and I believe his ridiculous insistence that conflict of interest laws don't apply to him is a clear and early example of the strategies and tactics to come (though it is absurd that we don't include the President explicitly; that also needs to change).
I doubt he will give up the Presidency, so he must release his full tax returns and divest (with his family) of managerial duties and oversight of the OPO. If allowed, he would crush American institutions, order, law, parklands, research, social safety net programs, civil rights & historic buildings in his despotic quest for enrichment, power and favor.
Please stop this. Make him choose. You can protect this historic facility and the integrity of the federal contracting process by not giving him a chance to destroy the Old Post Office and start a reign of corruption in a comfortable victory palace. Let a more qualified company without conflicts of interest manage and protect this great national treasure. It is ours.
You can read all of the complaints over at the Internet Archive. The documents were released in two batches and total 6 PDFs.