Chef José Andrés fights back with countersuit against Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton praises Spanish restaurateur for his stand in support of illegal migrants

Video: Hillary Clinton praises chef José Andrés.Photo: reuters_live
Silvia Ayuso

Two months after Donald Trump sued Spanish celebrity chef José Andrés for canceling his plans to open one of his world-class eateries inside the real estate mogul’s new hotel in Washington, the Spaniard has filed a countersuit against the controversial Republican presidential contender.

While Trump is demanding $10 million from Andrés for backing out of a pre-arranged deal, the restaurateur wants “at least” $8 million from the real estate baron, according to the lawsuit, which has been obtained by EL PAÍS.

The Spanish chef is demanding “at least” $8 million from the real estate baron

The controversy between the two began in July when Andrés announced that he was cutting his business ties with the real estate mogul after Trump made derogatory remarks about Mexicans.

Andrés, who became a US citizen in 2013, had agreed to open one of his famous restaurants at the new Trump International Hotel, which is being built at the old US Post Office Pavilion in Washington DC.

But in July he said that Trump’s “recent statements disparaging immigrants” made it impossible for his company to do business with him. The chef was referring to remarks made by Trump the previous month calling illegal Mexican migrants crossing the border into the United States “rapists” and “drug traffickers.”

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In August, Trump filed a lawsuit against Andrés and his ThinkFoodGroup in DC federal court. His 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.”

In his countersuit, Andrés alleged that the remarks were counter-productive to any future deals with Trump and his companies.

“The perception that Mr. Trump’s statements were anti-Hispanic made it very difficult to recruit appropriate staff for a Hispanic restaurant, to attract the requisite number of Hispanic food patrons for a profitable enterprise, and to raise capital for what was now an extraordinarily risky Spanish restaurant,” according to the filing in Superior Court in Washington DC.

Judge Michael O’Keefe has scheduled a December 11 hearing in the case.

On Thursday night, Andrés received praise from Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton during an awards ceremony held by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

“It’s a problem when a leading Republican candidate for president says that immigrants from Mexico are rapists and drug dealers,” Clinton said before handing Andrés the institute’s award.

It’s a problem when a leading Republican candidate for president says that immigrants from Mexico are rapists and drug dealers” Hillary Clinton

“It’s a problem when candidates use offensive terms such as ‘anchor babies,’ or even talk about changing the Constitution to take citizenship away from those who were born here,” she said, referring to other comments made by another Republic contender, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

“We need people who will stand up to this ugly rhetoric and extreme thinking, who will say with our words and our actions, ¡Basta! Enough! End this!”

For his part, Andrés said he came to the United States on a legal visa but explained that illegal immigrants deserve to receive legal status.

“What we want is that every one of those people who are feeding America receive legal status so we can keep feeding America,” he said.

English version by Martin Delfín.

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