Blog | Zach Everson

1100 Pennsylvania launches—a newsletter dedicated to the Trump Hotel D.C.

Last month I launched 1100 Pennsylvania, a newsletter reporting on the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. and President Trump’s other businesses. Here’s the newsletter’s FAQ/manifesto.

Why “1100 Pennsylvania”?

The hotel’s address is 1100 Pennsylvania Ave NW. It didn’t seem likely that the Trump Organization would enter into a licensing deal to allow me to use its name in this publication’s title (although it’s made questionable choices in that area before), so I had to be creative.

Why does one hotel merit its own newsletter?

The president’s D.C. hotel is the focus of three groundbreaking lawsuits about the U.S. Constitution’s foreign and domestic emoluments clauses. It’s a popular spot for GOP politicians and like-minded groups to hold fundraisers and other events. Real and would-be powerbrokers drink nightly at its bar, as do D.C. lobbyists and out-of-towners (sometimes representing foreign powers) hoping to influence government policy—or just catch a glimpse of their favorite politician or Fox News personality. All in a building leased from the U.S. government. And the U.S. president owns 77 percent of the hotel and can still profit from it.

It’s a big deal in traditional media the first time something happens at the Trump Hotel D.C.—like the RNC hosting an event, a foreign embassy throwing a gala to celebrate the home country, or Trump headlining a fundraiser for himself—and it gets major coverage. Yet when those kind of events happen again and again and again, they don’t draw as much attention. It’s those subsequent occurrences, however, that show the trends of what’s happening at the U.S. president’s hotel. Meanwhile lower-profile sightings—like administration officials frequenting their boss’s bar, state politicians enjoying a nice steak dinner, and lobbyists holding functions—largely happen unreported. They matter too.

Hence 1100 Pennsylvania.

When does 1100 Pennsylvania come out?

Most weekday mornings. I’ve been reporting on the hotel for more than two years, so I’m confident there will be enough new content each day to merit a new issue. But if there isn’t, I’m not going to force it. Conversely, if a big Trump hotel-related story breaks five minutes after I press send, expect a second issue that day.

How much does a subscription cost?

It’s free! Although it’d be awesome if you paid! The reporting is time consuming and being a freelance journalist is my sole occupation.

So please

SUBSCRIBE NOW.

and select the $5 a month or $50 a year option. If you’d like to provide more support, please let me know and I’ll be happy to arrange a way for you to do so (relax, it won’t involve bank accounts in Cyprus).

So why is the newsletter free then?

I think the information I’m reporting on is important and should be available to as wide an audience as possible.

But why pay for something I can get for free?

To support independent journalism that’s reporting on an important topic at a depth not done elsewhere.

It’s an approach similar to what finances NPR, Pro Publica, and The Guardian. Sorry though, no free totes (you probably have enough of those anyway). So, please

SUBSCRIBE NOW.

Who are you anyway?

Zach Everson. Hi. How are you? For about 13 years I was a travel and food journalist, contributing to outlets including Gawker Media; Eater; and Air Canada’s in-flight magazine, enRoute.

I started reporting on the Trump Hotel D.C. for Fox News right before it opened. Shortly thereafter I pitched my editor at Condé Nast Traveler a feature on the hotel that would go beyond just looking at it from a travel perspective, but also report out its legal and ethical issues from the vantage point of a weekend stay there. At 5,500 or so words, Inside the World’s Most Controversial Hotel provides an-depth look at what’s up with the hotel.

I’ve continued to research social-media posts, campaign-finance reports, and legal filings, as well as making FOIA requests and monitoring other sources to report on what’s happening there. Originally I started sharing most of my findings on Twitter and publishing the juicier scoops on The Daily Beast or Fast Company.

A daily newsletter though feels like the best way to tell the story of the president’s hotel.

It’s a big deal in traditional media the first time something happens at the Trump Hotel D.C.—like the RNC hosting an event, a foreign embassy throwing a gala to celebrate the home country, or Trump headlining a fundraiser for himself—and it gets major coverage. But when those events happen again and again and again, they don’t get as much coverage. Old news.

But what’s seems more consequential, newsworthy, and relevant is that these events and sightings at the Trump Hotel D.C. keep happening. The administration officials frequenting their boss’s bar, the state politicians enjoying a nice steak dinner, and the lobbyists holding functions are not outliers—they are not one-time events. It’s the subsequent visits, all the small datapoints that show the trends and potential conflicts.

Do you live at the Trump Hotel?

Would that it were. It’s nice and would make this job easier.

I go there every few weeks. A $15 tempranillo at the lobby’s Benjamin Bar gives me an affordable license to linger (the $15 wine served on a crystal spoon goes down too quickly). Usually though it’s just a quick swing through the lobby looking for notables.

I’ve had more success spotting guests and events via the internet and tips from guests than being there in person though. The hotel doesn’t post a sign of what groups are meeting where in its lobby—if you work for the hotel and are reading this though, much appreciated if you started doing so.

What happens to this newsletter if the hotel closes or when Trump leaves office?

1100 Pennsylvania is also the address of the University of Colorado’s Kappa Sigma fraternity house, so I’ll report on its doings. Or start digging into another newsworthy subject.

SUBSCRIBE NOW.

Me, Trump Hotel DC—and you?

Trump International Hotel Washington, DC, Zach EversonAfter freelancing for most of the last 13 years, I’m looking for a full-time journalism position. My kids are older, so a flexible schedule is no longer essential. And I miss having colleagues and a collaborative work environment focused on longer-term projects.

That being said, I’d like to continue focusing on the reporting I’ve done recently. And what is that beat?

The Trump International Hotel Washington, DC.

With three constitutionally groundbreaking emoluments lawsuits in the courts, an unfair-competition suit on deck, arbitration in a class-action suit accusing the hotel of racial discrimination scheduled for September, a hearing on a request to revoke its liquor license pending, revealing FEC filings, results from outstanding FOIA requests, and the daily examples of potential conflicts of interest, there’s plenty of material to report.

Here’s some of what I’ve published already on the hotel:

    • Inside the World’s Most Controversial Hotel” for Condé Nast Traveler—a 5,500-word enterprise piece that explains the hotel’s complex legal issues via my stay there (including a brief chat with President Trump) supplemented by social-media research, campaign data, and interviews with attorneys involved in the lawsuits.
    • Trump’s D.C. Hotel Gave a Sweetheart Rate to a Pro-Immigrant Worker Group” for The Daily Beast—a scoop on a group getting a great deal at the hotel when lobbying for an increase in H-2B visas, which the Trump Organization relies upon for seasonal help and are one of the rare immigration avenues President Trump supports.
    • Why Instagram Is the Best Window into Trump-Era Corruption” for Fast Company—a feature explaining how readers can just look at their phones to see many of the concerns about the president owning hotels and golf courses.
    • Delegation From Mueller-Scrutinized Cyprus Gets Sweet Deal at Trump’s D.C. Hotel” for The Daily Beast—an exclusive on a group of expats and foreign government officials meeting at the president’s hotel with the stated goal of influencing Trump’s foreign policy.
    • How Trump’s D.C. Hotel Works to Help Swamp the Drain” for Fast Company—at the height of Trump’s Amazon bashing, the company co-sponsored a conference at his hotel—and got a month-long reprieve of criticism.
    • And this Twitter thread—thousands of sightings of politicians, government employees, foreign officials, contractors, and conference attendees; legal developments; campaign expenditures; and other breaking news about the Trump Hotel DC that don’t always necessitate an article of their own. It starts here:

    • And, for example, my Twitter thread includes nine of President Trump’s Cabinet members pictured mingling with patrons at the Trump Hotel DC

    • Details on the Trump Hotel DC’s ongoing health-inspection woes

    • An in-person sighting of T-Mobile CEO John Legere at the Trump Hotel DC chatting with Corey Lewandowski, who’s advising Legere on a planned merger with Sprint that will require US government approval

    • Mexico’s former ambassador to the United States saying an ex-US government official has indicated that the U.S. State Dept. has been instructed to suggest the Trump Hotel DC for foreign leaders

    • Russia’s U.S. ambassador hanging out in the Trump Hotel DC’s lobby

    • And human-interest stories, like Rudy Giuliani hanging out at the hotel’s sidewalk bar, after Steve Mnuchin’s wedding, in a wine-stained tux

Still wondering if one hotel merits a beat of its own? Don’t just take my word for it!

You can view more of my work in my portfolio (before focusing on the Trump Hotel DC, I was a travel writer and editor, contributing to Condé Nast Traveler, Fox News, Eater, and others) and read my corporate-looking résumé. Interested in hiring me for a full-time journalism position or know of an opening that’s a good fit?  E-mail is z_everson@protonmail.com. Thanks!

‘Fast Company’ publishes my look at Trump Organization customers who later became President Trump-backed candidates

Last month, President Trump signaled his support for Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) candidacy for Speaker of the House at a fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel in D.C., where McCarthy’s PAC spent $154,000 to host the reception and dinner for 300 guests. It’s just one of many instances where Trump Organizations customers later became President Trump-backed candidates. Read my latest article for Fast Company:

“Trump endorsements follow in the wake of candidates spending money at his properties”

‘Condé Nast Traveler’ publishes my review of the yes you guessed it Trump Hotel DC

The Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. placed third in Condé Nast Traveler‘s Readers’ Choice Awards 2018 for the top hotels in the city. As I know a little bit about the hotel, the magazine asked me to answer some boilerplate questions for a review to accompany the ratings. It’s been published:

Condé Nast Traveler‘s Readers’ Choice Awards 2018: Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.

‘Fast Company’ publishes my look at Amazon Web Services and other groups hosting events at the Trump Hotel D.C.

“Trump, who has attacked Amazon on Twitter at least six times so far this year, hasn’t shamed the company since April 5. That a company publicly assailed by the president subsequently sponsored an event at that same president’s hotel—from which he can still profit—concerns government-ethics authorities. The profits go to the Trump Organization, and though the president’s business empire is now held by a trust, it’s not a blind trust, and he’s allowed to withdraw money from his enterprises at any time.”

Red the entire article:

“How Trump’s D.C. hotel works to help swamp the drain”

The Daily Beast publishes my scoop on a pro-Cyprus group hoping to influence President Trump and booking the Trump Hotel D.C.

“A delegation from the country of Cyprus was looking for ways to influence the Trump administration when it came to Washington D.C. in late May. And so, it did what many savvy influence-peddlers in the nation’s capital would do. It booked its conference in the president’s hotel.”

Read the article at

“Delegation From Mueller-Scrutinized Cyprus Gets Sweet Deal at Trump’s D.C. Hotel”

 

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