In a further confirmation of how Donald Trump’s business and presidential lives are in so many ways inseparable from one another, he was deposed on videotape for 90 minutes at Trump Tower yesterday in regards to a $10 million lawsuit with celebrity chef Jose Andres. The culinary giant was contracted to open a restaurant in the new Trump International Hotel in D.C. (which has been savaged in reviews) – but has backed out, citing the President-elect’s divisive remarks regarding Mexicans during the campaign.
Andres is as prominent as they come, running (via his ThinkFoodGroup) eighteen extremely successful restaurants from Philadelphia to Miami to Vegas to Beverly Hills, as well as several in the US capital. Born in Spain, his Latin heritage has always figured strongly in his menus, despite his penchant for wild experimentation. On that basis, TFG has countersued for $8 million, issuing the following statement:
“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.”
Even if Trump’s children will be supposedly running his businesses, it’s hard to imagine that these types of legal issues wouldn’t be distracting the new President on a regular basis. The matter of conflict of interest, of course, remains very much in play.