Celebrity chef Jose Andres has finally been able to settle the 2015 lawsuit filed against him by President Donald Trump's business organization. Andres was sued for withdrawing his plans to put a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. after President Trump made controversial, pejorative statements about Mexicans and other immigrants while on the campaign trail. After being served with the $10 million lawsuit for breach of contract, Andres fired back with an $8 million countersuit. Both Trump's case and Andres' case are now over.
Andres was not alone in pulling out of Trump's hotel over the derogatory statements calling Mexican immigrants "rapists" and "killers," and over anti-immigrant policies the Trump campaign was rallying behind. Another celebrity restaurateur, Geoffrey Zakarian, also abandoned plans for the same reason as Andres, and was also sued by Trump's business organization. The case against Zakarian also settled shortly after Andres' settlement.
Did President Trump Pay for Silence?
While it may be vehemently denied by the losing party in a confidential settlement, it's possible that Trump paid Andres to settle the lawsuit. Although a party may be able to deny that they lost the lawsuit when a settlement occurs, when a settlement is confidential, and no terms regarding monetary damages are released, it begs the question: which party wanted the confidentiality?
Though there are no reports on the terms of the settlement, the joint statement issued by the parties reads as if it were prepared specifically to avoid the sort of reputational damage the $25 million Trump University settlement did to President Trump. The prepared statement mentions that Andres and Trump will move forward "as friends" to collaborate on how to help the community. The statement contains the type of transparent praise for the Trump organization that people might expect from documents released by the Trump organization.
Since Donald Trump became president, the Trump team handling the celebrity chef lawsuits was led by Trump's sons, Donald, Jr. and Eric.