Former President Donald Trump once derided New York Yankees star Alex Rodrigues as a ‘druggie’ and a ‘joke.’
But the slugger has emerged as part of an investment group closing in to buy Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel, according to sources familiar with a deal that might help the former president claw back millions of dollars from his loss-making property.
The Trump Organization reportedly reached a deal with the Miami-based CGI Merchant Group last year to sell its lease on the Trump International Hotel, just a short walk down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, for $375 million.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.
However, sources said the deal is actually led by the Hospitality Opportunity Fund – a $650 million fund whose backers include serial investor Rodriguez.
Although industry insiders said Rodriguez was simply the headline name on a fund of hundreds of backers, Trump critics delighted in the apparent irony.
‘This is just more proof that the only thing that matters to Trump is money,” said Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio told the Associated Press, which was first to report the involvement of Rodriguez.
‘If A-Rod can bail out Trump and get him out of a sticky situation and help him turn a profit, he’s going to take that deal. He’d take it from Hillary Clinton.’
Former Yankees star Alex Rodriguez has emerged as one of the investors behind a $375 million deal to buy the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC
The Trump Organization sank $200 million into renovating the Old Post Office and the building reopened as a luxury hotel in 2016, quickly establishing itself as a haunt for Trump allies
But a Congressional panel reported that the hotel lost $73 million while Trump was in power
The hotel was a popular spot during the Trump administration for fans of the ex-president, as well as diplomats and lobbyists hoping to curry favor.
However, its bustling atrium bar has fallen quiet since Trump left power.
Even so, the hotel has some of the largest rooms in Washington, making it an attractive investment for the right owner.
The Wall Street Journal reported last year that the change in ownership would see it drop the Trump name and instead be branded and managed by Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria group.
Trump, a Yankees fan, was a vocal critic of Rodriguez in his playing days.
In 2013, a year before Major League Baseball suspended A-Rod for an entire season for using banned performance-enhancing drugs, he tweeted: ‘The Yankees should immediately stop paying A-Rod — he signed his contract without telling them he was a druggie.’
He followed up in similar vein.
‘Druggie A-Rod has disgraced the blessed Yankees organization, lied to the fans & embarrassed NYC. He does not deserve to wear the pinstripes,’ he wrote.
Trump allies, Cabinet members or relatives were often spotted in the atrium bar. Trump’s second wife Marla Marples and daughter Tiffany Trump are picture here
And he went on to say that Rodriguez was probably earning more than the entire Houston Astros.
‘Half the players on @astros will have better seasons than him,’ he wrote. ‘A-Rod is a joke!’
But their relationship appeared to improve after Rodriguez retired, and turned his attention to business and television appearances.
Two years ago it emerged that Trump called the star for advice on handling the coronavirus pandemic.
The president immediately denounced the reports as ‘fake news’ but a source close to Rodriguez reportedly said the call was ‘pleasant.’
Even so, Rodriguez and then-fiancee Jennifer Lopez backed Joe Biden in the election, appearing in an online ad that called on Hispanic voters to get behind the Democratic candidate.
Financial reports from the Trump International Hotel suggest the former president cannot be too fussy about buyers.
Regulars at the hotel included Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, seen here having coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas in September 20, 2019
The Oversight Committee wrote to the head of the General Services Administration seeking further information after revealing the hotel lost more than $70 million
A $375 million deal would mean the Trump Organisation turned a profit after spending $200 million in renovating the Old Post Office building and losing some $73 million during Trump’s four years in office, according to Congressional investigators.
The concluded that far from being a revenue-generator, it was a ‘failing business saddled by debt.’
‘Taken together, these documents show that far from being a successful investment, the Trump Hotel was a failing business saddled by debt that required bailouts from President Trump’s other businesses,’ wrote Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) chair of the Democratic-run Oversight panel.
‘In deciding to conceal the Trump Hotel’s true financial condition from federal ethics officials and the American public, President Trump hid conflicts of interest stemming not just from his ownership of the hotel but also from his roles as the hotel’s lender and the guarantor of its third-party loans.’
The panel was investigating potential conflicts arising from the Trump Organization renting the building from the General Services Administration, a government agency, while Trump was president.