A lawsuit filed by Donald Trump against celebrity chef Jose Andres is totally without merit, according to the chef.
The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump filed the $10 million lawsuit Friday. In the filing in D.C. federal district court, Donald Trump claims that chef Jose Andres caused financial damages when he pulled out of a planned restaurant.
In addition to Andres, Donald Trump named ThinkFoodGroup and an affiliate company, Topo Atrio LLC. The crux of the argument by Donald Trump is that Andres broke a lease he had signed as part of a $200 million redevelopment of the historic Old Post Office Pavilion.
At the time, Andres said he was breaking ties with Donald Trump for personal and professional reasons, citing comments the Republican presidential hopeful had made regarding Mexican immigrants during a campaign speech.
“And, as a proud Spanish immigrant and recently naturalized American citizen myself, I believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status,” Andres said.
Donald Trump and his lawyers contend that Andres should not have been surprised by the comments because they were not a revelation.
“Mr. Andres’ offense is curious in light of the fact that Mr. Trump’s publicly shared views on immigration have remained consistent for many years, and Mr. Trump’s willingness to frankly share his opinions is widely known,” lawyers for Donald Trump wrote in the filing.
According the Associated Press, Andres issued a statement over the weekend regarding the claims made by Donald Trump in his lawsuit. In the statement, Andres says it is “unsurprising” that Donald Trump would file suit, but the legal action is “without merit.”
“Simply put, Mr. Trump’s comments made ThinkFoodGroup’s participation in this project impossible and constituted a breach which the landlord, Trump Old Post Office LLC, refused to remedy,” Andres said in the statement. “And despite our attempts to negotiate an amicable resolution, we were ultimately forced to terminate the lease.”
Going further, Andres also said the immigration comments by Donald Trump would have made it impossible to operate the business envisioned, despite the best of intentions to do so.
“We had every intention of running a successful business that celebrates and welcomes people and cultures from around the world,” the statement reads. “The landlord allowed Mr. Trump to saddle us with the burden of his inflammatory statements, such that operating a high-end Spanish restaurant is no longer viable for us at this location.”
[Image by Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images]