A D.C. Superior Court judge has ordered Donald Trump to be in Washington June 16 — barely a month before the Republican National Convention — to be deposed in his legal dispute with a top chef over a planned restaurant in his Old Post Office hotel.
Trump is to be deposed in the downtown law offices of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, the firm that represents chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Trump sued Zakarian after the chef terminated plans to open a restaurant in Trump’s new Washington hotel, the $200 million makeover of the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue after Trump, while on the campaign, railed against Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists.
The GOP front runner filed suit against Zakarian for breach of contract, seeking $10 million in damages. Separately, Trump also filed suit against famed chef José Andrés, who also terminated his restaurant plans following Trump’s statements.
In court documents, Zakarian through his attorneys argued Trump’s comments would make opening a successful restaurant impossible. Deborah B. Baum, an attorney for Zakarian, declined to comment. The hotel is scheduled to open in the fall.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman, who has built a reputation as a tough civil judge, ordered Trump to make himself available to be deposed. Holeman also agreed to allow Trump’s deposition and other depositions to be confidential and sealed if Trump’s attorneys make such a request that such information should be private since they would include competitive business information and strategies.
Zakarian’s attorneys have repeatedly told the judge of the difficulties they have had in deposing Trump while he was on the presidential campaign. Discovery in the case was supposed to have been completed by June 16, and his initial deposition date was May 10.
Trump’s attorneys said in a filing last week that they did “not consent” to the date and the location of the deposition, but on Tuesday Holeman agreed to an extension and the deposition was scheduled.
The next hearing in the Andrés case is scheduled for June 15.