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.

  1. 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 arm blown off by a concussion grenade is not FAKE NEWS it is real and has happened to a sweet girl in ND, Please take a stand and follow Seattle’s vote with another city divesting from Trump and Wells Fargo keep that ball rolling.

  2. @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 .

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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 seems pathetically ridiculous to instigate a war with the LGBT, or our city. And any true democrat would not be limiting democracy. Lauren is coming across as in over her head with nothing to do but listen to anybody else’s suggestions.. this suggestion came from Jeanne Dobrin.. last weeks commercial cutout came from the plummer park ladies, its seems like she is grasping at things from others because she has no authentic ideas herself.

  7. @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.

  8. 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

  9. This is insane. Trump is your president and the only one to call out the very fake news. Some of you are grossly misinformed about what’s really going on since you get your lies from mainstream media which is corrupt.

  10. I suspect the next idea??? from our Mayor would be something like, and were going to build a wall around West Hollywood.

    Thanks JJ and J Simmons. #RESIST!

    1. Michael – She also has made big announcements AGAINST the Sunset Cresent Hgts project … But despite her holding a rally (I think) getting residents to believe she is fighting the DEVELOPMENTS … But THAT project is OUTSIDE WEHO and campaigning against it, BUT NOT ANY IN WEHO? WHICH SHE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

      I thought I tespected her naive but apparent sincerity about preventing over building

      She seems on HER ACTIONS and her nonsense about a municipality city council membrr is absurd. She should keep blaming Hillary Clinton for overdevelopment traffic and never taking any action on residential parking …. She is really trying the absurd TRUMP SMOKE SCREEN .. blabbering about Oaths & Constitutional dutirs.

      Perhapa she hyphenate

      Lauren TRUMP-MEISTER.

  11. Really??? Ms. Meister, why don’t you make a complete list of clearly objectionable people businrsses cities states & Countrird to the vast majority of the LGBT community (a large portion of weho voters) and ban EVERYTHING since it will have absolutely no effect either from coming to the attention of the “objectables” who have much bigger and active movements.


    Why waste time on issues beyond the City Council’s ability to effect change and INSTEAD find time (the City has had close to 30 Years to address RESIDENTIAL PARKING!

    There has been a shortage of parking for residents, YOU and the Council are spending $16 for robo garage w/ ZERO RESIDENTIAL SPACES, The SECOND WeHo Park Parking Garage Tower at how many MILLIONS OF DOLLARS?, And again NOT A SINGLE NEW RESIDENTIAL PARKING SPACES ADDED.

    Do something within the limited scope of a small municipality, which is limited, and IS THERE TO DEAL WITH LOCAL RESIDENTIAL PARKING ISSUES.

    I would vote for you if I saw actual new permanent parking spaces created in the most needed sections of weho.

  12. Perhaps conscious disengagement would be appropriate for any likely offensive Trump entangled enterprise. That we could do individually and acklowledge it collectively.

    As for Wells Fargo, I am in the process of submitting documents to City Attorneyike Feuer regarding a possible Phase Two to the “ghost account ” indescretions. Since 2010 Wells Fargo who absorbed Wachovia/First Union set about to open multiple accounts for my Mother, a woman in her months futh full mental faculties. The invidious accounts were presumably off setting each other for overdraft protection, savings etc. with a brikersge account she needed no more than one checking account that kept a relatively substantial balance. Finding no other way to profit on this customer the eventual progression of 6 accounts produced maintenance fees. She declined unwanted credit and debit cards.

    After taking over as PofA to handle many of her affairs long distance, I tackled the evolution of accounts some closed and replaced by others. I found Wells Fargo personnel unprofessional in a bank setting, often chatty and distracting. On one occasion my mother found them to be deceptive after preventing her from making a phone call to me as her legal advocate when they coerced her to make a change in her trust account.

    The Branch Managers and District Manager are neither responsive nor accurate frequently refusing to provide a thorough accounting of fees charged and entirely resistant to responding to written documents in kind. Ultimately I found errors were made in her Trust Account after legal documents were updated in person, transposing it from a trust to a joint account. The officer appeared to be either incompetent or deliberately misleading as the error was not easy to detect for some time.

    Recently I came across an LA Times article depicting an uncomfortably similar scenario perpetrated on an elderly lady in Hancock Park. Seniors appear especially vulnerable targets even though one may follow their affairs like a hawk.

  13. There are plenty of good reasons for any city that espouses progressive values to dump Wells Fargo but I’d be careful citing the Trump connection because it opens a can of worms.

    You might have a hard time finding a major bank without a Trump connection and I don’t see this city manager as being willing to look at regional banks or credit unions which would be the only progressive thing to do.

    It is also likely that Trump is invested in Municipal Bonds for the tax free safe income (most people are if they own a balanced portfolio of bond funds and stocks in their IRA) and therefore directly profiting from WeHo’s spending spree.

    Boycotting any company in which Trump has “a stake” is a slippery slope as we’d have to blacklist thousands of businesses and say bye bye to our favorite developer and council incumbent campaign contributor Townscape which Donald T does have a small stake in via Angelo Gordon Funds.

    I would definitely change “stake” to “majority ownership”.

  14. Well, pretty soon there won’t be anything left to ban. Think of all the immigrants that work at these businesses and impact to their lives this will have if there is any real effect (if this should get passed) from this latest attempt at banning something you don’t like. The longer Meister serves on the City Council, the more I’d like to ban her.

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