When Donald Trump agreed to settle his Trump University lawsuit 10 days after he was elected, speculation mounted that the president-elect might also settle outstanding legal disputes with two celebrity chefs who bailed on his D.C. hotel project.
Not so far. Officials from Trump Organization, owners of the hotel, failed to come to an agreement with celebrity chef José Andrés’s company Tuesday after a court-mandated mediation session, according to D.C. Superior Court records.
An attorney for the Trump Organization did not immediately return requests for comment. An official at Andrés’s company, ThinkFoodGroup, declined to comment.
A second case between Trump’s firm and chef Geoffrey Zakarian continues as well. Deborah Baum, an attorney for Zakarian, said “no mediation” was set in her case and that they were planning to ask a D.C. Superior Court judge to set a trial date. Baum declined to discuss the case further.
Trump has repeatedly bragged in the past about never settling lawsuits, but he has done so many times, and in the Trump University case, he agreed to a $25 million settlement to end three separate lawsuits that made claims against the real estate seminar he once ran.
Trump brought $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuits against Andrés and Zakarian after the chefs pulled out of agreements to open restaurants in Trump’s Washington hotel following his June 2015 comments in which he denounced Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists.
Trump, his son Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka all traveled to Washington to be deposed in the Zakarian case. During the deposition, Trump argued that his campaign helped boost his various businesses.
“I think people like politics. And they like to be around the name and maybe me,” Trump said in the deposition. “I think people really dig it.”
Trump also said Zakarian’s decision to back out left him without enough time to find another restaurant for the space. He said the business would have to spend millions to build out the space. That space is now a meeting room in the hotel.
Emily Heil and Keith L. Alexander contributed to this report.