Friday 18 October 2019

T-Mobile top brass spent $195k at Trump DC hotel

Cheque in: T-Mobile executives have reserved at least 52 nights at the hotel since news of the potential merger broke
Cheque in: T-Mobile executives have reserved at least 52 nights at the hotel since news of the potential merger broke

David Shepherdson

T-MOBILE US chief executive John Legere and other company leaders have spent $195,000 (€173,000) on hotel stays and other expenses at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC since the company sought approval for a $26bn merger with Sprint last April, documents released yesterday showed.

The company disclosed the expenses in a letter to Democratic politicians after Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Pramila Jayapal sent letters to leaders of the Trump Organization and T-Mobile last month after reports that the company's executives had started using the Trump hotel on a regular basis.

Photographs of Mr Legere, who regularly stays at the hotel, began appearing on social media sites, with him wearing his customary pink T-Mobile-themed attire.

After questions were raised about the Trump hotel stays, Mr Legere posted a photo of himself from another prominent Washington hotel.

The company said that the $195,000 included costs for "meeting space, catering, business centre services, audio/visual equipment rental, lodging, meals, taxes and other incidental expenses" in a letter dated February 21.

The Democrats said the hotel stays "raise questions about whether T-Mobile is attempting to curry favour with the President, who has not fully divested from his financial interests, via their numerous and expensive stays in the Trump Hotel".

The 'Washington Post' reported that T-Mobile executives had reserved at least 52 nights at the hotel since the merger announcement, dramatically boosting the company's use of the hotel.

The company said the Trump hotel expenses were just 14pc of the total it had spent at Washington area hotels during that period.

"While we understand that staying at Trump properties might be viewed positively by some and negatively by others, we are confident that the relevant agencies address the questions before them on the merits," said Anthony Russo, T-Mobile's vice-president for federal legislative affairs.

The Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission are still reviewing the proposed deal with Sprint which would combine the third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers in the country.

A complaint by Mr Legere about a street drummer outside a Trump hotel in 2015 prompted the President to call T Mobile's service "terrible" in a tweet.

Mr Legere said he had stayed at Trump properties in Chicago, New York as well as Washington.

Reuters

Irish Independent

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