- Trump sued the chefs after they pulled out of the project over his comments about Mexicans
- Both cited a potential drop in customer base and negative impact on their employees relating to Trump's comments
Trump will be deposed at the offices of the attorneys representing his opponent in the case, chef Geoffrey Zakarian, in Washington. The deposition was ordered by the judge in the case.
The case stems from Zakarian and chef Jose Andres canceling plans for restaurants in Trump's redevelopment of the D.C. Old Post Office building, which is located a few blocks from the White House. The two celebrity chefs backed out of the project after Trump made disparaging remarks about Mexicans during the campaign, including that Mexico was sending criminals and "rapists" to the U.S.
Trump sued the chefs in August for breach of contract after they pulled out of the project. Both chefs have filed counter claims.
Andres is Spanish-American and Zakarian is Armenian-American, but both cited a potential drop in customer base and negative impact on their employees relating to Trump's comments.
"We share a different set of morals and values," Zakarian said of Trump in a March interview
with Metro. "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. ... I stand by what I did. I'm very happy I did it. I sleep very well at night."
Trump's legal team has countered that, in fact, Trump's comments have been beneficial to his businesses
, citing an analysis from industry expert Roger Cilne.
"Data from the pre- and post-political statements time period gleaned from STR Global-generated 'STAR Reports' show that five of the six Trump-branded hotels in the United States continue to perform well as compared with competitor hotels, and data from the signature restaurants in each of these hotels are performing better in the timeframe after the political statements than they were in the timeframe before the political statements," Trump's lawyers wrote in a court filing submitted earlier this month.
The presumptive GOP nominee has not backed away from his harsh criticism of Mexico and undocumented immigrants, most recently saying an Indiana-born federal judge would be biased against him in a lawsuit over a separate business venture, Trump University, because of his Mexican heritage.