Mayor Meister Will Ask City Council to Consider Barring City Dealings with Donald Trump

Mayor Lauren Meister will ask the city council on Tuesday to consider barring the City of West Hollywood from doing business with any hotel, real estate company, financial institution or investment firm in which Donald Trump or his trust has a stake.

Meister also will ask the council to reconsider the city’s relationship with Wells Fargo Bank given its funding of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline and of some of Trump’s real estate ventures.

Mayor Lauren Meister

“When I was elected, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution prohibits POTUS from receiving any benefits outside his or her salary,” Meister said in an email to WEHOville. “This item prohibits the city from being an accessory to any potential violations of the Emoluments Clause. Further, the city created a working group to respond to potential policy changes from the new administration that are directly in opposition to the city’s core values. Think of this item as the city putting its money where its mouth is.”

The Emoluments Clause, part of Article I of the Constitution, bans the president from accepting money or gifts from foreign rulers or other countries. It has been interpreted by some to mean hotels or buildings owned by Trump cannot accept money from foreign governments. One example of that frequently cited is ICBC, the state-owned Chinese bank that is the largest tenant in Trump Tower in New York City.

The clause also bars the president from taking money other than his designated salary from the United States or any individual state. Under that restriction, one could argue that the City of West Hollywood, as an agent of the State of California, would be prohibited from providing emoluments to the president

If approved by the council, the city’s Finance & Technology Services Department would compile a list of those companies in which Trump or his revocable trust have a stake and present that to the council along with possible actions it might take. After his election Trump promised to move all of his businesses and investments into the revocable trust, which would be managed by his oldest son, Donald J. Trump Jr., and the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer.

While they would manage the company, Trump himself would receive income from its holdings. Financial and ethics experts have questioned whether such a move is enough to avoid a conflict of interests between Trump’s power as president and the trust’s business dealings.

Meister’s request that the city council rethink doing business with Wells Fargo is likely to cause some pushback from the WeHo Chamber of Commerce. Chamber CEO Genevieve Morrill spoke out against a similar proposal in October by council members John D’Amico and Lindsey Horvath  that asked city staffers to research options for responding to a major Wells Fargo scandal that would include ending its business relationship with the bank for a period of time or finding another bank to work with. D’Amico was reacting to a major scandal in which the bank was discovered to be selling accounts to unknowing customers.

Trump’s campaign for president and election in November has provoked a number of official responses from West Hollywood.  They include  a council decision to ask City Hall to develop possible responses to efforts Trump might make to push back on LGBT rights, abolish the Affordable Care Act and force immigrants out of the country.  Last year then-mayor Lindsey Horvath banned Trump for coming to West Hollywood, a ban that got national media attention but was ultimately deemed unenforceable.

The city council is  moving its regular Monday meeting to Tuesday because Feb. 20 is Presidents Day, a holiday.  It will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at West Hollywood City Hall at 625 N. San Vicente, south of Santa Monica.


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Mark E
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Mark E

If any of you have kept up with what is happening at standing rock and the water protectors you would know how serious the corporate police state has gotten. If you do not take a stand against what is going on, than you will find yourself in cross hairs soon enough. The city needs to divest from Wells Fargo Trump and fossil fuels as soon as possible. Send a message that destroying peoples lives to make a profit will no longer be tolerated and the best way to do that is to hit them in their bottom line. Getting your… Read more »

Larry Block
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Larry Block

@rudolph, let the city manager do his job- if I misunderstood Meister’s proposal it’s because she is always off in never never land encroaching on people’s rights, property owner rights – and this attention is better spend on homeless issues or other unsolved local issues that are ongoing. Besides Wells Fargo is a public company with many shareholders – if there was wrong doing by management that’s what the courts are for- let the city attorney defend wrong doing- but Meister is looking like the joker more and more .

Jenny
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Jenny

I would look at the continum of good things Wells Fargo has done for our community and balance that against their committment to fund less than 5%of the DAPL. Let’s not be myopic.

JJ
Guest
JJ

@Larry…right on!

Rudolf Martin
Guest

So Larry, if you were in charge you would have the city continue to bank with Wells Fargo and not look at other options? Should we espouse our values only by meaningless declarations instead of actions? How does this affect your mortgage or checking account or anyone else’s? Your comment makes me wonder if you misunderstood the proposal.

Rudolf Martin
Guest

Even our supposedly slightly less progressive neighbor city council have already put their money where their values are and severed their ties to Wells Fargo.

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/santa_monica_city_council_progressive_initiatives_combat_trump_20170217

Westbourne &
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Westbourne &

Next thing you know Meister will propose writing the curriculum for our schools. She may be the worst mayor we have ever had.

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

Another ridiculous Meister proposal like the ban of formula retailers.. how the hell does she know who any of us have our mortgage with.. how does she know who we do banking with.. is she trying to force all those customers away from wells fargo and have them move out of the city of west hollywood.. they pay local taxes. . Im not a Trump fan but is Lauren starving for attention. Horvath banned Trump during the election, now he is our president.. i guess Lauren wants to be invited to CNN, or MSNBC so she can be progressive. Its… Read more »

meister4weho
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meister4weho

@Leonard – this is not an ordinance that would impact residents. This is a policy discussion regarding where the City banks, where staff stays when traveling, etc. Similar actions have been taken by other cities as well. For example, the cities of Davis and Seattle voted to pull their money from Wells Fargo because of the bank’s connection to DAPL. Individuals need not do anything. But if a city wants to advocate effectively for its constituents, actions speak louder than words.

JJ
Guest
JJ

Exactly, Ellen. The Council should be focused on governing our City.

Ellen
Guest
Ellen

Why does Lauren Meister keep wasting time with these pointless proposals? I am no Trump fan but I am also not a fan of the lack of available parking, high rental prices and rush hour traffic in our city, issues which seems like City Council *might* have more influence over. We did not elect her to grandstand

Leonard
Guest
Leonard

Mayor Meister, help us understand what to do. Public records indicate that you have a home loan with Quicken Loans. We do too. Refinancing would cost us $. However, there lobbyist joined the trump administration in December. If you are refinancing we will too. Thanks for your guidance.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20161201/NEWS/161209976/quicken-loans-lobbyist-joins-trumps-hud-transition-team