Gordon Sondland testifying before Congress Screenshot via YouTube
This morning, top Democratic officials on the House Intelligence Committee pressed Gordon Sondland for knowledge about the alleged efforts by US President Donald Trump to withhold aid from Ukraine unless the Eastern European country agreed to investigate the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of Trumps political rival, former Vice President Joseph Biden.
His answer to the impeachment committee's inquiry of whether there was a quid pro quo involved in the president's actions? The European Union ambassador testified that yes, there was, and that “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.”
Sondland joined the Trump administration as ambassador to the European Union in 2018, a year after it was revealed that the Republican mega-donor gave nearly $1m to the presidents inauguration committee through four companies registered under his name.
But just a few years ago, Sondland was more popularly known as a successful hotel magnate and philanthropist who gave millions to various non-profits and museums. According to financial disclosures, Sondland has amassed a $25m art collection alongside his wife, Katherine Durant, who helps run their namesake charitable foundation. He is also a major donor to museums across the West Coast. That includes Seattles Frye Art Museum, which has a gallery dedicated to the family name. And according to the museums website, Sondlands mother, Frieda, co-curated an exhibition in 2012 at the age of 91. Its said that she visited the museum every day for more than a decade. A catalogue for the exhibition was printed with financial support from Sondland and his wife.
“Im also a lover of art,” Sondland says in a video biography showcasing the couples art collection. “Katy and I have assembled a wonderful collection. Weve been fortunate even to loan a couple of paintings to the White House.”
As Sondland becomes a central figure in the impeachment inquiry, his investments in art could become a target. Last night, protesters flooded the streets of downtown Portland to call on the ambassador to tell the truth to Congress. Demonstrators made a beeline for three hotels in the area that are owned by Sondlands company. “They sleep at these hotels, theyre sleeping with Gordon Sondland, theyre sleeping with Donald Trump,” one activist told Read More – Source