Donald Trump sues Spanish chef José Andrés for backing out of hotel deal

Billionaire Republican contender seeking $10 million in damages from culinary artist

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.Charlie Neibergall (AP)

Donald Trump has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Spanish chef José Andrés for backing out of plans to open a high-end restaurant in one of the billionaire’s planned luxurious hotels in Washington DC.

Andrés cut his business ties after Trump made “disparaging” remarks against Latinos

Trump made good on his threats to sue the famous Spanish celebrity culinary artist after Andrés announced last month that he was cutting all his business ties with the Republican presidential hopeful for his “disparaging” remarks against Latinos and Mexicans, in particular.

As he announced his run for the Republican nomination on June 16, Trump said that part of the US national security problem was caused by illegal migration at the Mexican border.

“They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists […]. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I will make Mexico pay for that wall,” he said.

Spanish chef José Andrés.
Spanish chef José Andrés.Jacquelyn Martin (AP)

His remarks set off a backlash of criticism from Latino-Hispanic groups to pro-migration organizations. Companies and television networks such as Macy’s, Univision, Televisa and NBC also cut their ties with the real estate tycoon because of his controversial statements.

Andrés, who became a US citizen in 2013 and owns a chain of successful restaurants in Washington DC, had agreed to open a new fashionable eatery at Trump International Hotel, which is being built at the old US Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue in the US capital.

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“As a proud Spanish migrant and a recently naturalized American citizen myself, I think all human beings deserve respect, regardless of their migratory status,” Andrés said in a statement. “The recent and disparaging statements by Donald Trump about migrants makes it impossible for me and my company to continue with a successful opening of a Spanish restaurant on Trump’s property.”

Soon after Andrés announced that he was canceling his businesses dealings with Trump last month, the billionaire’s son warned the Spanish chef that he would be sued for non-compliance with the contract he had previously signed.

“We will also enforce the exclusivity provisions preventing Mr Andrés from opening a competing restaurant anywhere in the DC area,” said Donald Trump Jr.

Trump’s lawyers said the chef’s decision was “curious” because their client’s immigration views have remained consistent

In the lawsuit filed in DC federal court on Friday against Andrés and his ThinkFoodGroup, Trump’s lawyers said the chef’s decision to back out was “curious in light of the fact that Mr Trump’s publicly shared views on immigration have remained consistent for many years,” The Washington Post reported.

Since his White House-run announcement, Trump has had a series of entanglements with his fellow Republican contenders, insulting some while accusing others of being too soft on national security issues.

As he tops most Republican polls as the leading candidate for the party’s nomination next year, Trump is expected to square off with his opponents during his first political debate, scheduled for Thursday in Ohio.

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