Trump will leave business, but won’t sell

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — President-elect Donald Trump says he will transfer his business holdings to a trust run by his sons, but he won’t sell his stake — stopping far short of what ethics lawyers say would eliminate conflicts of interest.

In a press conference at Trump Tower, Sheri Dillon, a lawyer for Trump, said that his business and financial assets will be placed into the trust before he is inaugurated Jan. 20. But she said Trump will still receive reports on the overall profit of the Trump Organization, his worldwide empire.

Trump will resign his leadership of the company and transfer control to his two adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric, and an in-house executive, she said. Dillon said that Trump will not discuss the business with them.

Outside ethics lawyers have repeatedly urged Trump to liquidate his holdings and hand the proceeds over to an independent trustee who controls them without his knowledge, a structure known as a blind trust.

Maintaining an ownership stake in his properties, they said, leaves the possibility that Trump’s personal profit motive could influence his decisions as president.

But Dillon told reporters that establishing a blind trust would be too complicated, and that no independent trustee is capable of running the Trump Organization.

“President-elect Trump should not be expected to destroy the company he built,” she said. “This plan offers a suitable alternative to address the concerns of the American people.”

Dillon said the Trump Organization will not enter new deals in foreign countries while Trump is president. Any domestic deals that could raise conflict concerns will need the written approval of a newly appointed ethics officer, she said.

Dillon also said Trump will donate to the U.S. Treasury any profits from foreign government payments to his hotels.

But she dismissed concerns that Trump, by accepting hotel business from foreign governments, will be violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, as outside ethics have said.

“No one would have thought when the Constitution was written that paying your hotel bill was an Emolument,” she said.

Of the donations to the Treasury, she said, “This way it is the American people who will profit.”

While Trump will still receive profit-and-loss reports on the company as a whole, Dillon said, he will not see an accounting for individual businesses within the Trump Organization.

The Trump Organization will also add a chief compliance officer to its leadership ranks.

In the weeks since his election, the Trump Organization terminated all unfinished deals, and Ivanka Trump, who is expected to move to Washington and play a role in his presidency, will relinquish her roles at the Trump Organization, Dillon said.

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5 comments

  • steve

    Why should he have to sell? He made it as a private citizen, and it should still be waiting when he becomes one again. Just who in hell are these “outside ethics lawyers”, and where were they when Bill and Hillary were making huge money with their foundation?

  • Bob

    Trump has been around long enough to know a person has to watch what they say to news agencies. They twist everything you say in hopes of sensationalizing the news. It makes me laugh when he cuts into one of the news groups.

    I gave two interviews in my life. Both times the reporter cut and clipped my answers together to make my answers sound the way he wanted them. The reported asked me one question and used that question in the story, but not the answer to that question. He asked me another question and used the answer to that question as the answer to the first question.

    Then he couldn’t understand why I would never give him another interview.