Trump could be fined $12 million after an Illinois judge ruled his Chicago hotel violated a environmental protection law for 3 years

Trump chicago
A man walks by Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, on March 21, 2020.

Former President Donald Trump’s Chicago hotel is improperly using water from the Chicago River to cool the building in violation of environmental protection regulations, a judge in Illinois ruled this week.

The ruling stems from a 2018 lawsuit against the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, The Washington Post reported. The Illinois attorney general had argued that Trump’s property used 19 million gallons of water each day from the Chicago River to cool the property and returned the water to the river at a warmer temperature.

The hotel had initially secured a permit that allowed it to cool the building in this way, but the permit expired in 2017 and was not renewed, according to the report, sparking more than three years of violations.

The Trump Organization, which owns and operates the Chicago hotel, did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

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Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall, who decided the case, said a penalty would be decided at a future date.

According to the Washington Post, the office of the Illinois Attorney General had asked that the judge impose the maximum possible fines: $50,000 for two violations plus an additional $10,000 per day for each day the hotel continued to cool the building using water from the river.

With violations occurring since 2017, the former president’s hotel chain could be ordered to pay as much as $12 million in fines, The Chicago Tribune reported. It added, however, that fines that high were ultimately unlikely.

The lawsuit had first been filed by former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, but a spokesperson for current Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, in office since 2019, told The Washington Post he was happy with the judge’s ruling, adding he planned to “continue to seek to hold the defendants accountable for violations of Illinois’ environmental laws that jeopardized the quality of the Chicago River.”

The ruling in Chicago is just one in a series of legal battles that the former president faces now that he is out of office.

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A Trump hotel in DC more than quadrupled prices for room bookings around Biden’s inauguration

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The Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC is seen on Election Day, November 3, 2020.

  • The Trump International Hotel has posted hiked-up room rates on its website for stays that coincide with President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony.
  • Room rates at the hotel, located in Washington, DC, begin at $2,225 per night around January 20, the day of the inauguration.
  • On other days in January, rates begin at $476.
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One of President Donald Trump’s hotels is trying to profit from guests looking for a room on or near January 20, the inauguration date for Joe Biden. 

The website for the Trump International Hotel, located in Washington, DC, shows room rates for days around January 20 begin at $2,225 per night. On other days in January, rates begin at $476.

There is a two-night minimum stay requirement for all guests traveling during the time of the inauguration, according to the hotel website. 

Other nearby Washington, DC, hotels are also jacking up prices, according to Politico, which first reported that Trump’s hotel is hiking up prices ahead of Biden’s inauguration. 

The Trump International Hotel did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Trump has yet to concede to Biden, even though the race was called for the former vice president in early November. Instead, Trump unleashed a series of legal attacks, aiming to question the validity of the election results and allege widespread voter turnout. Of the dozens of lawsuits Trump’s filed so far, he won none

It’s unclear whether Trump will attend Biden’s inauguration ceremony. The White House declined to comment. 

Trump has indicated, however, that he wants to hold a 2024 campaign event on January 20, the same day as Biden’s inauguration.

Various Trump allies – including his wife and first lady Melania – have urged the president to concede. Others like Vice President Mike Pence have endorsed Trump’s refusal to concede. Just days after the race was called in November, Pence said the Trump administration plans to remain in place for another full term

Pence asked a judge to stop a lawsuit that sought to give him more power in the upcoming congressional certification process on January 6. The vice president presides over a joint congressional session during which lawmakers officially certify the results of the presidential election. 

The lawsuit would have encouraged a federal judge to grant Pence the power to reject results from individual states, potentially giving him the ability to overturn the election in Trump’s favor and grant him another full term. 

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