Businessman-turned-President Donald Trump says he never settles a lawsuit, but his sons clearly do — with the Trump Organization run by Eric and Donald Jr. settling two within a week.
On the heels of the Friday resolution between the Trump Organization and D.C. restaurateur Jose Andres, the lawyers for developer Louis Ceruzzi and chef Geoffrey Zakarian — a Food Network star and a restaurateur behind The Lambs Club — announced the Trump Organization has settled the dispute regarding the Zakarian restaurant that would have opened at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The battle began in July 2015 when Zakarian backed out of a deal to open a restaurant in Trump’s new luxury hotel in the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue. Like Andres, Zakarian cited Trump’s statements about immigrants from Mexico, saying “those remarks made it impossible for him to run a successful dining establishment in the Trump property,” The Washington Post reported. Trump intended to sue Zakarian for $10 million at first, raising it to $14 million, based on court filings. Zakarian countersued.
In response to today’s settlement, Ceruzzi said, “I am glad that we were able to work together cooperatively to put this matter behind us and wish Trump International the very best success going forward.”
Zakarian says it’s a good sign. “With the recent opening of our new restaurant, Point Royal, in Fort Lauderdale as well as several other new restaurants in the pipeline,” said Zakarian, “2017 is already shaping up to be a hugely successful year for us.”
As is the case between Andres and the group, the terms of the settlement between parties remain confidential.
The settlement is an about-face from early January, when a lawyer for then-President-elect Donald Trump’s holdings informed a D.C. judge that the two parties were at an impasse. It was expected to go to trial.
Prior to January, Zakarian told the Village Voice in November after he backed out, “. . . my buddy Donald, he fucked up,” he said. "He opened his fucking mouth.”
While BLT Prime opened in the space that had been earmarked for Andres, the Trump Organization did not land another restaurant to replace what would have been the Zakarian spot, instead reserving it for a ballroom and meeting space.