Former New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, once vilified by Donald Trump as a “druggie” and “joke” unworthy of wearing the pinstripes, is now a key part of an investment group seeking to buy the rights to the ex-president’s marquee Washington, D.C., hotel, people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.
A-Rod’s involvement in the $375 million deal, which could close within weeks, would make the athlete-turned-entrepreneur an unlikely financial savior for Trump, allowing him to recoup millions he invested and perhaps even emerge with a profit from his money-losing hotel.
“This is just more proof that the only thing that matters to Trump is money,” said Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio. “If A-Rod can bail out Trump and get him out of a sticky situation and help him turn a profit, he’s going to take that deal. He’d take it from Hillary Clinton.”
While published reports late last year identified the buyer as Miami-based CGI Merchant Group, the rights to lease the 263-room property near the White House are actually being purchased by a fund led by CGI that includes Rodriguez as a general partner, two people familiar with the deal told the AP. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the deal, declined to detail Rodriguez’s stake other than to say he is a key investor.
One of the sources identified the fund as the $650 million Hospitality Opportunity Fund that CGI, Rodriguez and New York real estate financier Adi Chugh set up in late 2020 to buy hotels with plunging valuations due to coronavirus shutdowns and rebrand them as a collection of “socially conscious” and “eco-friendly” properties.
But the Trump International Hotel in Wash...