Officials Investigate Trump’s Use of Trump Tower Atrium for Campaign Events

By Steven Klett, Epoch Times
June 1, 2016 Updated: June 2, 2016

Donald Trump has used the Trump Tower in New York City as the background of his speeches since the very beginning of his campaign when he announced his candidacy.

Now, the New York City Department of Buildings is investigating the real estate mogul’s use of the Trump Tower atrium for campaign events—which may be in violation of a 1979 agreement to keep the atrium open to the public during the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

The agreement allowed construction and major expansion to continue on the famous Fifth Avenue building.

City inspectors are examining whether people were barred from the space Tuesday for a news conference, one of many campaign events Trump has held in the atrium since last June’s announcement of his campaign for presidency.

Department spokesman Joe Soldevere told CNN that the “Department of Building’s enforcement unit is investigating whether the atrium was improperly closed to the public.”

Soldevere said the probe was initiated after Trump gave a May 31 speech regarding the funds he raised for the veterans in his most contentious press conference to date. 

Tourist David Miller, 38, of Columbus, Ohio, was disappointed he wasn’t able to make it in to hear Trump at the news conference, The Associated Press reported.

“I had really hoped to get inside and take a look and I may not be able to now,” Miller said.

An executive and lawyer for the Trump Organization, Michael Cohen, insisted the atrium remained open.

“The property was never closed and I dispute any reports from anybody stating otherwise,” he said.

Trump has marked several of the biggest moments of his campaign in Trump Tower. He held celebratory news conferences in the skyscraper’s atrium following his victories in the New York primary on April 19, multistate primaries on April 26, and the Indiana primary on May 3.

This isn’t the first time city officials have confronted Trump over the use of the public atrium. He was fined $4,000 in 2015 and $2,500 in 2006 for installing kiosks selling merchandise in the space.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.