Contractors file liens against Trump D.C. hotel for unpaid labor

Contractors file liens against Trump D.C. hotel for unpaid labor

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., has been touted by President-elect Donald Trump as having been completed ahead of schedule and under budget, but three companies that worked on the property say they never got their share of that budget.

Companies responsible for plumbing, electrical work, baseboards and crown molding in the 263-room hotel filed liens during the closing months of 2016 claiming they have not been paid more than $5 million dollars they are owed for the work.

The hotel, located down the street from the White House in the Old Post Office, underwent a $212 million renovation and opened in October.

The liens were filed against the property in November and December because the companies are concerned about potential changes to the hotel's ownership. There are questions as to whether Trump can legally can be listed on a federal lease of the property while also holding public office, which could complicate their being paid.

"They have been decent people and so forth but the issues that are going on now, with all the talk about removing him from the lease we are concerned about what is going to happen there," John D. Magnolia, president of Joseph J. Magnolia Inc., told The Washington Post. "So it's basically a business decision that we had to make."

Magnolia's company completed plumbing, mechanical and HVAC work, among other services, and was paid for most of their contributions to the project. Magnolia said, however, he got nervous about an outstanding $2.98 million the company is owed for the rest of its work.

AES Electrical Inc. also claims it is owed $2.075 million for its work on the hotel, and A&D Construction of Virginia LLC, which did not contract directly with the Trump Organization on the project, claims it is owed $79,700 for baseboard and crown molding work at the hotel.

The Trump Organization has been sued many times in the past for not paying contractors, including landscapers in New York who sued for $111,000 in 2001 and a painter in Chicago who sued for $4 million in 2010.

Trump has previously said he does not pay for work that does not meet his standards, though a spokesperson on Thursday chalked up the new liens to the normal business of property development.

"In developments of this scale and complexity the filing of nominal liens at the conclusion of construction is not uncommon as part of the close out process," a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said in a statement. "In the case of Trump International Hotel, Washington D.C., the Trump Organization has invested over $200 million dollars into the redevelopment of the historic Old Post Office and is incredibly proud of what is now considered to be one the most iconic hotels anywhere in the country."