The Trump Organization has settled a legal dispute with a second celebrity chef who backed out of a deal to open a restaurant in President Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington.
The agreement between Trump and famed chef Geoffrey Zakarian, announced Monday by lawyers, comes three days after the Trump Organization settled a similar breach-of-contract lawsuit he filed against celebrity chef José Andrés.
The details of both settlements were kept private.
“After an intense, two-year legal battle, we are pleased we were able to amicably resolve our differences and wish Geoffrey continued success,” read a statement Monday from Donald Trump Jr., who with his brother, Eric, runs the Trump Organization while their father is in the White House.
New York real estate developer Louis Ceruzzi, who had backed the restaurant, added that he was “glad” both sides were able to “work together cooperatively” to reach a settlement and wished Trump International Hotel “the very best success going forward.”
The settlements with the chefs were reached after Trump often boasted he would never settle a lawsuit.
The legal battles began when both chefs backed out of deals to open restaurants in Trump’s luxury hotel complex in the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue. Zakarian, like Andrés, cited Trump’s derogatory public comments about illegal immigrants from Mexico that he made during the presidential campaign, and both chefs said those remarks made it impossible for them to run a successful dining establishment in the Trump property.
Trump originally sued Zakarian, a Food Network star, in D.C. Superior Court for $10 million, basing that figure on expected losses after Zakarian’s decision to back out. In recent court filings, Trump’s representatives raised the estimated loss to about $14 million.
Trump also filed a $10 million breach of contract lawsuit against Andrés. The chef countersued for $8 million, with his company arguing that Trump’s campaign rhetoric made it next to impossible to hire Hispanic staff or to attract Hispanic patrons. Trump built his own restaurant in the space Andrés had been expected to use and signed BLT Prime and chef David Burke to operate it.
Trump was unable to secure another restaurant to replace the one Zakarian had agreed to use. The space instead was used for another ballroom as well as a meeting space.
Zakarian’s attorneys Deborah Baum and Alvin Dunn of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman said they were “pleased both sides were able to settle their difference amicably and put this dispute behind them,” Baum said in a statement. She declined to comment further on the details of the settlement.
Jonathan O’Connell contributed to this report.