SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — In the last week, according to the New York Times, President-elect Donald Trump met with a trio of Indian businessman in his office atop Trump Tower, the men are business partners who are building a Trump-branded luxury apartment complex south of Mumbai, raising new questions about how he will separate his business dealings from the work of the government once he is in the White House.
A Trump spokeswoman painted a picture of the meeting being nothing but a courtesy call, three Indian real estate executives who flew from their homeland to congratulate the President-elect on his victory. In a picture posted on Twitter, all four men are smiling and giving a thumbs-up.
“It was not a formal meeting of any kind,” Breanna Butler, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, said, according to the report.
Sagar Chordia, one of the trio of businessman, posted photos on Facebook of him meeting and spending time with Ivanka and Eric Trump, the Republican’s children who have been charged with helping to run his business at the same time they play a role in his transition.
The three Indian executives — Sagar Chordia, Atul Chordia, and Kalpesh Mehta — have been quoted in Indian newspapers, including The Economic Times, as saying they have discussed expanding their partnership with the Trump Organization now that Mr. Trump is president-elect.
Washington ethics lawyers said that a meeting with Indian real estate partners, regardless of what was discussed, raised conflict of interest questions for Trump, who could be perceived as using the presidency to advance his business interests.
“There may be people for whom this looks O.K.,” said Robert L. Walker, the former chief counsel of the Senate Ethics Committee, who advises corporations and members of Congress on government ethics issues, according to the report. “But for a large part of the American public, it is not going to be O.K. His role as president-elect should dictate that someone else handles business matters.”
A multitude of Trump’s international properties are the result of marketing deals, just as the one in India. Trump is paid by someone for the use of his name but does not actually own the underlying property. Such agreements for Trump are in place in countries such as South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, the Philippines and Turkey, according to a list published by his company.
Butler, the spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, said the family was moving to try to formally separate Mr. Trump from his family’s business ventures.
“Mr. Trump is not going to have dealings in the day-to-day business of that organization,” she said.