Trump Sues Over Soured D.C. Restaurant Deal

     WASHINGTON (CN) – With a renowned chef having backed out of plans to helm a restaurant in his new D.C. hotel, Donald Trump has filed a federal breach of contract action.
     Trump says he has been renovating the space for the restaurant, at a cost of $200 million, for about a year at a historic D.C. property known as the Old Post Office.
     In November 2014, Topo Atrio allegedly signed a 10-year lease with Trump Old Post Office to open a flagship restaurant for renowned chef Jose Andres.
     As with other former partners of the former “Apprentice” star, Andres severed ties with Trump in the days after the tycoon announced his run for president on June 16.
     The Republican’s campaign speech shocked many by insinuating that most Mexican immigrants are rapists.
     “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best; they’re not sending you,” Trump said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
     Andres, who was born in Spain, told the Washington Post in July the remarks made it “impossible” for him to go through with the restaurant deal.
     A Change.org petition calling for Andres to cancel his plans to open the restaurant received more than 2,000 signatures.
     Trump Old Post Office noted in a July 31 federal complaint that it confronted Topo Atrio after the company missed a June 29 deadline regarding construction plans.
     Topo Atrio allegedly responded on July 17 with a letter that said Trump’s comments “constructively evicted” it and amounted to bad faith.
     The tenant purported that Trump could “cure” the issue by recanting his personal opinions, according to the complaint.
     “Tenant’s July 17, 2015 notice to Landlord not only sought to control what Mr. Trump could say, it failed to cite any provision from the Sublease that Landlord had purportedly violated,” the complaint states. “This is because there are no provisions in the Sublease that grant Tenant the right to terminate the Sublease based upon the personal offense with respect to comments made by landlord, its principals or affiliates, including Mr. Trump.”
     Noting that Trump himself was not a party to the sublease, the landlord named for him rejected its tenant’s termination notice and sent its own default notice.
     Trump Old Post Office named as defendants Topo Atrio and ThinkFoodGroup, as guarantor of the lease.
     Since Trump has long been outspoken about his immigration views, the landlord says his views on immigration should not have caused Andres to pull out from the deal.
     “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,” the complaint states. “Notwithstanding Mr. Trump’s well-known frankness, in a January 2015 press release announcing the Sublease, Mr. Andres praised Mr. Trump for his ‘business acumen’ and said he was ‘proud to partner with him.”
     The landlord also notes that neither the sublease nor any other agreement contain a provision protecting Andres from personal offense, and Andres never fought for one in negotiations.
     Trump Old Post Office seeks $10 million in damages, saying it will be forced to open the hotel without a restaurant that was supposed to serve as its “visual focal point.”
     Neither ThinkFoodGroup nor the Trump Organization responded to requests for comment on this story.
     The lawsuit comes about a month after Trump sued Univision for $500 million after dumping his Miss Universe pageant.

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