U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a Trump donor and a central figure in the Ukraine nightmare is scheduled to appear for a deposition on Thursday, October 17. As far as we could tell there are currently three streams of reporting concerning Sondland: Ukraine. the late breaking news of the renovation of the Chief of Mission Residence (CMR), in Brussels, and the reported ongoing boycott of his Portland-based hotel properties, Provenance Hotels. The Oregonian citing Oregon Public Broadcasting also said that “the popular local ice cream company Salt & Straw had severed its professional ties with Provenance, a chain of upscale hotels across the country, including six in Portland.”
We imagine that if his testimony is favorable to his boss, that we would likely see him tweeted as, oh, who knows … superman or the greatest ambassador ever. Or he could end up spending more time with his family. We should know soon.
WaPo on the $1 million official residence renovation:
The State Department defended the renovations, saying they were part of a “regular 17-year cycle of reviewing and refreshing furnishings and interior décor in representational residences.” The renovations were funded in April, after Sondland’s confirmation, a spokesman said. “Other minor renovations currently underway” were reviewed and approved by staff at the U.S. mission and funded in fiscal 2019, which began in October, after Sondland was confirmed.
Remember when a political ambassador was not pleased with the condition of the official residence mattress, or when embassy staff members spent several days to locate and purchase an umbrella for the official residence patio? Those were way cheaper than a “family kitchen,” at a cost of just under $223,000. Not sure why he was not allowed to spend his own money. Anyone remember Ambassador Ronald Spogli and the $1.1M wine cellar donated to Villa Taverna in Rome? Also Ambassador Thomas Foley who reportedly spent $500,000 of his own money restoring the US ambassador’s residence in Phoenix Park in Dublin?
By the way, we’d like to know what other official residences are on State/OBO’s docket for renovations. These renovations are not unheard of but these are often scheduled years in advance. We’ve looked for the fiscal year projection for the USEU official residence in Brussels going back to FY2016, and so far have not been able to locate it. But we see that the “major rehabilitation” of the Chief of Mission Residence Paris is on the expected to be awarded list for FY 2019. Cost for that should be interesting.
- USEU Sondland Turns Over WhatsApp Messages and Other Docs to @StateDept Oct 9, 2019
- Trump Admin Blocks USEU Amb Gordon Sondland From Being Deposed 10/8 Over #Ukraine (Updated) Oct 8, 2019
- Read: Text Msgs From Ambassadors Volker, Sondland, Taylor, and Others on #UkraineNightmare Oct 4, 2019
- #UkraineNightmare: “If you still have concerns … give Lisa Kenna or S a call …” Oct 4, 2019
- House Committees Subpoena Pompeo For Documents, Schedule Depositions of Senior @StateDept Officials Sept 27, 2019
- Foggy Bottom’s Top ‘Champion of Diplomacy’ to Step Up, or Maybe Not Sept 27, 2019
- What did we miss? July 5, 2018
Gordon Sondland wedged his way into Ukraine policymaking despite being inexperienced as a diplomat and facing opposition from John Bolton. Now, Sondland’s gambit appears to have placed him at the center of the impeachment inquiry.https://t.co/HvCBZSBiMb
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 17, 2019
Gordon Sondland is using nearly $1 million in taxpayer funds to overhaul his Brussels ambassador’s residence – $400,000 in kitchen renovations, nearly $30,000 for a new sound system and $95,000 for an outdoor "living pod" with pergola and electric heating. https://t.co/SOmoLdMpq1
— Paul Sonne (@PaulSonne) October 17, 2019
Amb Sondland, who testifies tmrw, was viewed as a problem by the natl security teams at the White House & State. He didn’t feel bound by Pompeo or Bolton. Sondland could call Trump whenever he wanted & did. Bolton often turned down mtgs w/ him, our story: https://t.co/pDe5ikJE8t
— Kylie Atwood (@kylieatwood) October 17, 2019
"Sondland has more than a few apparent similarities to Trump—rich, brusque, runs hotels, loves to make deals, plays hardball, accused of dodging taxes, has made money off gambling."
Sondalnd's spouse: "It's really easy to take shots at successful people." https://t.co/7y2M4Jejey
— Shane D. Kavanaugh (@shanedkavanaugh) October 15, 2019
— Tom Lowry (@lowrytom) October 16, 2019
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) October 11, 2019
The man Trump put in charge of shaking down Ukraine carries a hand held buzzer to summon servants. Brought Jay Leno to Brussels parties. Blew off those who tried to rein in his operation by saying he only answered to one person: the president. https://t.co/Wzh9SuYx5Y
— Greg Miller (@gregpmiller) October 5, 2019