Employees at former President Donald Trump’s Chicago tower got special early access to coronavirus vaccines, arranged by a hospital whose chief operating officer owns a $2.7 million condo in Trump’s building, city officials said Wednesday.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, said she was “disappointed” that 72 employees of Trump’s hotel and condo tower had been vaccinated on March 10 and 11 — despite city guidelines saying that hotel employees would not be eligible until March 29.
“We have a finite amount of vaccine in the city. We’ve been really, really careful to make sure that we’re using it in a way that prioritizes the most vulnerable people who are most at risk and most at risk of spreading it,” Lightfoot said in a news conference Wednesday. She added: “We just can’t have something like this happen again.”
Lightfoot said the city had asked for more details about the vaccination event from its organizer, Loretto Hospital. The small hospital is located in a majority-Black neighborhood nine miles from Trump’s downtown tower and says its mission is to provide vaccines to the “minority communities hardest hit” by the pandemic.
The hospital did not respond to questions from The Washington Post on Wednesday. A day earlier, it had issued a statement saying that hospital executives had been “mistaken” about when hotel employees were eligible to be vaccinated.
The vaccinations at Trump’s Chicago tower — and the connection between that building and Loretto Hospital’s COO, Anosh Ahmed — were first reported by the news site Block Club Chicago.
Ahmed, 37, bought a 43rd-floor condominium in the Trump building in October for $2.7 million, according to real estate records. He did not buy the condo from Trump, but — as a condo owner — he probably pays management fees to Trump’s company.
Block Club Chicago also reported that Ahmed told acquaintances that he had vaccinated Eric Trump, the former president’s son and a top executive at the Trump Organization. Ahmed sent to others a photo of himself posing with Eric Trump. At the time of the vaccinations, Chicago’s guidelines limited them to very vulnerable populations, including people over 65, prisoners, teachers and first responders.
Neither Ahmed nor Eric Trump responded to requests for comment from The Washington Post on Wednesday. On Saturday, Eric Trump tweeted two photographs of the Chicago tower and the city’s skyline.
Loretto Hospital’s statement said its chief executive, George Miller, had authorized the vaccinations. Miller said that the 72 vaccinated Trump employees were “predominantly Black and brown,” and that the event was requested by Trump employees who live on Chicago’s West Side, near the hospital.
“We were, at the time, under the impression that restaurant and other front line hospitality industry workers were considered ‘essential’ under the City of Chicago’s 1B eligibility requirements,” Miller said in his statement. “I now understand, after subsequent conversations with the Chicago Department of Public Health, that we were mistaken.”