In 2012, the Trump Organization began retro fitting and refurbishing the District of Columbia U.S. Post Office Pavilion, located on Pennsylvania Ave. just down the road from the White House. As reported by The Washington Post, this structure was built in 1890 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The on-site restaurants at this prestigious location require the services of world class chefs. In 2014, award-winning Spanish born Jose André signed a contract to provide food services to the luxury hotel.
According to Eater.com, in June 2015 as Donald Trump was beginning his Presidential campaign, he made “some heinous statements” about illegal Mexican immigrants bringing crime and drugs into the country, as well as being racist, although he also assumed some of them “were good people.” Upon hearing these remarks, Andrés, who employs many immigrants, took “great issue with the vitriol” and cancelled his contract in July 2015. Trump sued him for breach of contract that same month. Andrés countersued in October 2015. CNN.com reports that DC Superior Court Judge Jennifer A. Di Toro has ordered President-elect Trump to appear at a deposition in the days prior to his inauguration. If an out of court settlement isn’t reached before that time, it’s estimated that a deposition could take seven hours and open many cans of worms.
Andrés is very well known and respected in Washington, according to Grubstreet.com. He operates over a dozen Spanish restaurants in “Washington, D.C., Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.” He’s an activist that works to improve food systems, including building kitchens in undeveloped countries with solar power. He’s been awarded National Humanities Medal and says that “more than half of [his] team is Hispanic.” He’s tweeted recently that he’d like the lawsuit to be dropped and donate the money to Veterans. But he’s not the only chef that backed out of a deal for the newest Trump Organization project. Nor is he the only one who has been sued, and countersued.
In 2015 Armenian born restaurateur and network TV food star Geoffrey Zakarian also signed an agreement to work at Trump’s new Washington, D.C. edifice. He felt the same way Andrés did and said Trump’s remarks “would inevitably affect the [future] customer base. . .” Trump’s deposition for this case took place in June of 2016. But does an almost-sitting President need to spend seven hours on the stand? Additionally, when off the cuff comments are recognized by a court and used as “future proof” of damage, how far are we from pre-thought crimes?