Prolific New York nightclub, restaurant, and hotel entrepreneur Eric Goode of Ludlow Hotel, B Bar, and Waverly Inn has joined a lawsuit alleging that President Donald Trump’s involvement in hotels puts other businesses at a disadvantage.
The hotelier and restaurateur, who’s also an avid environmental conservationist, is a new plaintiff in the ethics lawsuit that government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed earlier this year, according to the new report from the Times style section. It’s the same one that restaurant union Restaurants Opportunities Center United and high profile restaurateurs like Danny Meyer and Tom Colicchio have also endorsed.
Goode is a partner in a slew of businesses in New York and LA, including Bowery Hotel, its accompanying Italian restaurant Gemma, and the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea. His work is considered a major reason why hotels became hot nightlife destinations.
The lawsuit alleges that Trump violates the emoluments clause of the Constitution, a section that prohibits presidents from accepting money from foreign governments. The plaintiffs argue that foreign dignitaries may choose to stay at a Trump hotel or dine at a Trump restaurant over competitors in hopes of currying favor with the government.
Trump’s attorneys have previously said that the market rate services for hotels and restaurants don’t violate the clause, and they also once said that any profits from foreign governments would be donated to the Treasury.
Goode contests both of these things, and the lawsuit claims that his businesses will suffer because of Trump’s involvement in the hospitality business. He tells the Times:
You can’t say you are going to donate the money from foreign dignitaries because it’s their collective entourages. How can you even quantify that? The notion that the presidency doesn’t benefit your business is really absurd.
With Goode putting skin in the game and endorsements from people like Colicchio, it may seem like high profile New Yorkers are willing to jump in and be a part of the lawsuit. But the hospitality business is apparently quite hesitant — Goode says most of his fellow hoteliers have deals with Trump and Jared Kushner’s family and are scared of getting punished.