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First hotel in new Trump chain seeks Mississippi tax breaks

A Mississippi developer that has joined with the Trump Organization to open the first of possibly dozens of hotels in the U.S. president's new mid-priced chain has applied for millions of dollars of state tax breaks.

Posted: Feb 9, 2018 7:38 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A Mississippi developer that has joined with the Trump Organization to open the first of possibly dozens of hotels in the U.S. president's new mid-priced chain has applied for millions of dollars of state tax breaks.

Chawla Hotels filed an application in December for a tax break with the Mississippi Development Authority worth as much as 30 percent of eligible construction costs, or roughly $6 million, CEO Dinesh Chawla said Friday.

The Trump Organization announced a deal with the hotel company in June as part of the rollout of two new chains, drawing complaints from ethics experts that government officials and local real estate partners might offer special favors to the president's business to curry favor with him.

President Donald Trump faces several lawsuits that allege he is violating the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution forbidding presidents from accepting gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.

In an effort to resolve conflicts of interest issues, Trump handed management control of his company to his two adult sons before he took office last year. Critics say that's not good enough, and that he needs to sell his ownership interest in his business to resolve what they claim as emoluments violations.

The president's lawyers have argued that normal business transactions don't fall under the emoluments prohibition.

Chawla said he's sees nothing wrong with his company applying for tax breaks, which were first reported by The New York Times.

"I'm not a legal scholar, but I'm an ethical business person," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I don't toss the word 'Trump' around. I don't ask anyone for favors."

Chawla said his company has already received abatements on city and county taxes.

The Trump Organization had no comment.

The Trump Organization, which is based in New York, announced its two new chains — the mid-priced Scion, and the budget-priced American Idea — with great fanfare last year. Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger said he expected dozens of Scions, for instance, in short order.

But the chains have gotten off to a slow start, with only Chawla Hotels agreeing to join up with the company so far.

Chawla said that he expects it will cost $20 million to build his Trump hotel, which will be a Scion. The hotel in Cleveland, Mississippi, will be the first in Trump's new chain.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 28770

Reported Deaths: 1092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds224739
DeSoto144216
Madison124234
Jones109149
Neshoba97070
Lauderdale89479
Rankin86012
Forrest82942
Harrison79410
Scott75715
Copiah58016
Leake56519
Jackson55716
Holmes53641
Wayne52212
Lee51816
Oktibbeha51625
Washington5129
Yazoo4786
Leflore47449
Warren46317
Lowndes45912
Lincoln43734
Lamar4317
Grenada3965
Pike39312
Monroe37529
Lafayette3684
Attala35523
Newton3329
Sunflower3216
Covington3175
Bolivar29813
Panola2956
Adams28018
Simpson2713
Chickasaw26418
Tate2648
Marion26311
Pontotoc2616
Jasper2516
Noxubee2478
Pearl River24532
Clay24410
Winston2446
Claiborne23910
Marshall2123
Smith21111
Clarke20424
Coahoma1906
Union1819
Walthall1794
Kemper17614
Yalobusha1667
Lawrence1621
Carroll16111
Humphreys1309
Itawamba1308
Tippah12711
Webster12610
Calhoun1244
Montgomery1242
Hancock12313
Tallahatchie1153
Jefferson Davis1074
Prentiss1003
Greene968
Jefferson963
Wilkinson929
Tunica903
Amite842
George753
Tishomingo731
Choctaw724
Quitman690
Perry634
Alcorn601
Stone541
Franklin392
Benton270
Sharkey270
Issaquena81
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 39604

Reported Deaths: 961
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4532143
Montgomery3875102
Mobile3797134
Tuscaloosa210739
Marshall162210
Lee124537
Shelby110923
Madison11047
Morgan10203
Walker87123
Franklin86314
Dallas8419
Elmore83614
Baldwin7359
Etowah64413
DeKalb6415
Butler60727
Chambers60027
Tallapoosa57269
Autauga55312
Unassigned50724
Russell5030
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4576
Houston4464
Limestone4290
Cullman4114
Pike4075
Colbert3775
Bullock3649
Coffee3592
Barbour3331
Covington3327
St. Clair3192
Marengo29911
Hale29621
Escambia2936
Wilcox2848
Talladega2827
Calhoun2805
Sumter27912
Clarke2686
Dale2620
Jackson2522
Winston2373
Blount2181
Pickens2176
Chilton2152
Marion20613
Monroe2052
Choctaw19212
Randolph1889
Conecuh1866
Greene1788
Macon1778
Bibb1761
Perry1541
Henry1303
Crenshaw1243
Washington1027
Lawrence1000
Cherokee797
Lamar711
Geneva700
Fayette671
Clay612
Coosa571
Cleburne301
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