After a nearly two-year legal battle, President Trump and restaurateur José Andrés have reached a settlement agreement, according to a joint statement released Friday.
“I am glad that we are able to put this matter behind us and move forward as friends,” Donald Trump Jr., who took over the Trump Organization after his dad became president, said in the statement. “Without question, this is a ‘win-win’ for both of our companies.”
Andres echoed Trump’s comments.
“I am pleased that we were able to resolve our differences and move forward cooperatively, as friends.” The chef went on to say that he had “great respect for the Trump Organization’s commitment to excellence in redeveloping the Old Post Office” and that his company, Think Food Group, was “excited about the prospects of working together with the Trump Organization on a variety of programs to benefit the community.”
This is a happy ending (and a marked about-face) for the legal dust-up between the two parties that began in July 2015.
When then-candidate Trump characterized undocumented Mexican immigrants by saying, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” the Spanish-born Andres, who became an American citizen in 2013, backed out of a deal to open a flagship restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
The chef said Trump’s remarks made it “impossible” for him to move forward with the deal.
“More than half of my team is Hispanic, as are many of our guests,” the chef said in a statement at the time. “And, as a proud Spanish immigrant and recently naturalized American citizen myself, I believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status.”
Team Trump sued the chef for breach of contract to the tune of $10 million, and Andres countersued for $8 million. The back-and-forth litigation continued for months.
In December, almost a month before the presidential inauguration, Andres even offered a morsel of peace, suggesting both parties squash their beef and donate money to a veteran’s group. Trump, who has claimed repeatedly he doesn’t settle lawsuits (he does), didn’t bite then, but today is apparently a different story.
According to Friday’s statement, the terms of the settlement are confidential.