Trump Organization settles restaurant suit with chef José Andrés
President Trump’s company and D.C. chef José Andrés have settled a nearly two-year-old legal dispute stemming from the chef’s decision to shelve plans to open a restaurant in Trump’s D.C. hotel following Trump’s controversial immigration rhetoric.
The Trump Organization, now run by Trump’s adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric, issued a joint statement with the chef’s firm, ThinkFoodGroup, Friday morning. Terms were not disclosed and spokespersons for both companies declined to comment.
“I am glad that we are able to put this matter behind us and move forward as friends,” Donald Trump Jr. said in the release. “Since opening in September 2016, Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C. has been an incredible success and our entire team has great respect for the accomplishments of both José and TFG. Without question, this is a ‘win-win’ for both of our companies.”
The dispute began after Andrés pulled out of a lease to open a restaurant in Trump’s hotel in the summer of 2015. A immigrant from Spain, Andrés took offense when the then-candidate railed against Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists on the campaign trail. Trump sued him for $10 million.
“I am pleased that we were able to resolve our differences and move forward cooperatively, as friends,” Andrés said in the statement. “I have great respect for the Trump Organization’s commitment to excellence in redeveloping the Old Post Office. At TFG, we have long been committed to using our resources to improve the D.C. community as well as the lives of those less fortunate by our active involvement in D.C. Central Kitchen, World Central Kitchen and many other worthwhile causes. Going forward, we are excited about the prospects of working together with the Trump Organization on a variety of programs to benefit the community.”
Andrés did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The settlement ends a distraction for Trump that, two weeks before entering office, required him to sit for a legal deposition in Trump Tower. The Trump Organization made no comment on a similar suit with chef Geoffrey Zakarian.