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Sheila Johnson Reportedly Bidding On Trump Hotel In D.C.

Sheila Johnson speaking at Transwestern's Trendlines event in February.

The group of investors vying to take over the lease for the Trump International Hotel reportedly includes Virginia business leader Sheila Johnson

Johnson, the CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts who is also a part owner of the Washington Mystics, is among the bidders looking to acquire the ground lease for the Pennsylvania Avenue Hotel, the Washington Post reports

One of the country's wealthiest black women with an estimated net worth of $800M, Johnson co-founded Black Entertainment Television in 1979. She founded Salamander Hotels & Resorts in 2005 and in 2013 opened the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia. She owns a stake in the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics, and she serves as president and managing partner of the WNBA team. 

In a phone call with the Washington Post, Johnson acknowledged her interest in the Trump International Hotel but declined to comment. A Salamander spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment from Bisnow.

The Trump International Hotel hit the market in October, with the Trump Organization retaining JLL to seek buyers. A JLL marketing brochure revealed the hotel experienced 57% occupancy last year. It said the buyer would have the opportunity to increase that by actively marketing to foreign governments, a practice the Trump Organization says it has not done to avoid conflicts of interests while Donald Trump is president. 

The hotel is operated through a long-term ground lease with the federal government, a structure hotel experts have said could limit the potentially record-breaking price tag the hotel is expected to fetch.

One other potential buyer, investor Brian Friedman, told the Washington Post in January he bid on the hotel. Friedman told Bisnow Feb. 4, less than two weeks after the reported deadline for submitting bids, that he had not heard anything from JLL or the Trump Organization about the hotel. The Post reported he was out of the running.

Johnson will speak March 31 at Bisnow's Sports and Entertainment event, held at Audi Field