Donald Trump Deposed in Breach of Contract Case Due to Bigoted Remarks About Mexican Immigrants

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Donald TrumpPresidential candidate Donald Trump was recently deposed in a breach of contract case involving New York celebrity chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian.

Trump Sued Zakarian for Backing Out of Restaurant Deal

Trump filed the breach-of-contract suit against Zakarian because Zakarian pulled out of a deal to open a restaurant on a property that Trump is developing. Trump is renovating the Old Post Office building in Washington and turning it into a luxury hotel called the Trump International Hotel Washington DC. Zakarian was contracted to open a restaurant on that property.

Zakarian pulled out of the deal after Trump made bigoted remarks about Mexican immigrants. Trump stated, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Following these statements, Zakarian dropped his plans to open his restaurant and announced that, “statements surrounding Mexican immigrants by Donald Trump do not in any way align with my personal core values.” He further noted that, “My whole life is spent with Mexican-Americans. Seventy-five percent of my staff is Mexican-American. They’re my backbone. That’s a family.”

Zakarian claimed that Trump’s statements would make it impossible to attract the staff and clientele that would be necessary to the restaurant’s success. Restaurateur Jose Andres also decided to withdraw from the project.

Trump sued both Zakarian and Andres and kept their deposits of $250,000 and $500,000. Both chefs countersued. In his suit against Zakarian, Trump claims the two companies affiliated with Zakarian breached their contract. Zakarian responded that it was Trump who breached the agreement because his inflammatory campaign comments amounted to the breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. 

Trump Attempted to Get Out of Being Deposed

When Zakarian served Trump with a notice of deposition, Trump filed a motion to quash it. He claimed that he did not have any “unique, first-hand knowledge of the facts and issues in dispute” that couldn’t be learned from his son or daughter, who handled most of the dealings related to the hotel. Trump’s attorneys claim that the only purpose of the deposition was to harass him and that it would be an inconvenient burden on his schedule. 

Zakarian argued that Trump was needed because he claimed personal involvement in the development of the hotel, he personally signed the order seizing the deposit money, and he was the only person who knew why he made those statements.

D.C. Court Judge Brian F. Holeman ruled for Zakarian and ordered the deposition to take place. The two-hour deposition took place at the offices of the law firm representing Zakarian. Approximately 60 protestors were seen outside the firm. 

Other Lawsuits Pending for Trump

This case is not the only lawsuit pending for the presidential candidate. Trump also faces three separate lawsuits by former students of Trump University, his real-estate training program. In one of these lawsuits, former students allege fraud, false advertising, unfair business practices, and financial elder abuse. A second lawsuit charges civil racketeering. The third lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, alleges fraud, false advertising, and other violations, and seeks $40 million in restitution.

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