Holy Crap The Petition Worked – Jose Andres Not Coming to Trump Hotel Downtown


The petition worked!!

From the Washington Post:

“Donald Trump’s recent statements disparaging immigrants make it impossible for my company and I to move forward with opening a successful Spanish restaurant in Trump International’s upcoming hotel in Washington, D.C.,” the statement reads. “More than half of my team is Hispanic, as are many of our guests. And, as a proud Spanish immigrant and recently naturalized American citizen myself, I believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status.”

95 Comment

    • +1. Really surprised he backed out. I think his statement makes sense though – regardless of which side you fall on if majority of your workforce is Hispanic you’re gonna have some motivation problems with this particular restaurant.

  • Fight’s not over, best of luck to them:

    “Our relationship with José Andrés has always been a good one, but simply put, José has no right to terminate or otherwise abandon his obligations under the lease, ” Trump Jr. wrote.
    “In the event Mr. Andrés defaults in the performance of his obligations, we will not hesitate to take legal action to recover all unpaid rent for the entire 10 year term together with all attorneys’ fees and additional damages we may sustain. We will also enforce the exclusivity provisions preventing Mr. Andrés from opening a competing restaurant anywhere in the D.C area.

    • There ought to be an EEO claim against Trump for creating a hostile work environment for Jose Andres and his team (and, all of America). Along with cancellation of any contract and a fat penalty against Trump.

      • +10000! I hope Jose can pull this off with as little monetary damage as possible!

      • That doesn’t make sense. Jose’s employees do not work for Trump or any of his companies.

    • I imagine there are plenty of lawyers who could easily blow that lease apart. And unless that space sits empty, they won’t be getting unpaid rent from Andres for the entire 10 year term and there’s ample time to replace the tenant to mitigate any damages. Good luck Chump, Jr.

      I doubt the Trumps want to battle Jose in DC.

      • I hope so. That response just made me dislike Trump even more. I’d imagine Jose wouldn’t make such an announcement if he didn’t think he’d win.

        • I’ve been reading his responses to all the people that have been pulling out of business with him, and this seems to be the same talking points. “I’ll sue you for all you’re worth!” and “It’s not like I can’t get someone else to fill the spot.” and “My property/content/whatever is the best you’ve even seen – come vitis/read/blah blah blah.” It’s pretty incredible.

        • Agreed. And I don’t think Andres was just sitting around twiddling his thumbs and then finally cracked because of the petition. I’d bet he’s been sitting with lawyers trying to figure out how to get out of this thing, which would explain his almost total radio silence on the issue over the last week.

      • +1 I’m not a lawyer, but I understand that Trump has to show good faith efforts in mitigating damages.

      • This is oversimplifying things, but roughly: If they can find a replacement tenant — or reasonably could have found one — before any damages would be suffered, their recovery will be quite limited.

      • Don’t bet on it. The Trump organization has deep enough pockets to keep this going as long as Andres wants to fight back, not to mention that the Trumps are not known to back down from a fight, no matter how pointless.

    • “We will also enforce the exclusivity provisions preventing Mr. Andrés from opening a competing restaurant anywhere in the D.C area.”

      Lollllllllllllllllllllllllllllll does Mr. Trump know that he’s already GOT many competing restaurants??

      • Yeah, this really confused me too. WTF does that mean in this context. Complete nonsense.

      • Jose Andres seems like a pretty smart businessman. While I took that line to mean any future competing restaurants, I can’t imagine that is something he would have agreed to in a lease just to open at the Trump Hotel.

        • It is referring to a clause in the Lease that is fairly standard that basically says he won’t open another similar restaurant withing say a half mile radius of the trump building so as not to cannibalize its own sales. What trump is saying is I will still hold you to that radius restriction even if you are not in our building at all.

          • Ah, thanks for the clarification. The half mile radius makes total sense.

          • I’m surprised Andres would sign that anyway considering three of his restaurants in DC are on the same block. He likes to keep everything pretty close together.

          • Trump Jr. says the non-compete extends to the entire metro area, but he may just not realize how big it is.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Yeah, in his chat this morning Tom Seitsma speculated that it would be difficult for Andres to get out of his contract unless the contract had a morals clause. Perhaps Jose got enough support that he (and his lawyers) felt they could successfully fight Trump.

    • While it would not surprise me if there wasn’t some morals clause of some kind of some protection of Andres’ brand that would let him sneak out, at some point the Trumps will agree to exit the contract. If they try to push Andres around and anticipate anyone is going to support their hotel here in DC, they are probably going to be surprised by his popularity in this city (and general disdain for Trump).

      • justinbc

        Don’t hotels generally cater to people not from the city they’re in though?

        • Many, if not most, of the hotels in prime locations (Willard, the nicer properties down by the Hill) make a substantial portion of their money from weekly conferences/events/lobbying days held by national organizations. At a minimum, this gives reason to look elsewhere when considering where to host those types of events and guests.

        • Conferences and other large events will probably be a big chunk of this hotel’s business. A lot of those are organized by folks living or working in DC.

          • In addition, there are probably armies of top-notch DC-loyal attorneys salivating to take on that doofus.

          • Well hey – looks like CPAC may have found a new hotel for their yearly convention here..

        • Hotels yes, their restaurants, not always. I would imagine a Jose Andres restaurant will have a large local attraction. Especially in that area. And as others have noted below, local meetings/events drive a lot of the revenue there. Although you are right, obviously for the rooms, you’re talking about outside folks coming in. I’m not sure that holds true for the restaurant patrons. Plenty of DCers go eat at Cafe du Parc at the Willard, or drink at POV at the W, or go eat at the Jefferson, or Poste at the Monaco.

    • I wonder if there’s a clause in the contract about personal conduct or something like that. Probably not, but I hope for his sake there is.

      • If you were Trump’s lawyer, would you agree to anything that depended on his, Donald’s, personal behavior? I wouldn’t.
        Relatedly, have you seen the twitter exchange between Trump and the Modern Family writer? For the love of god, Trump, get a PR team. Whenever I think you can’t fall any further, there you are calling an emmy-winning writer of a highly rated show a “total loser” on your official twitter. smh

        • justinbc

          He would be a terrible lawyer if he did. Having said that though, it’s not like Andres is hurting for money, and his lawyers would be doing him a major disservice if they didn’t take precautionary steps to ensure that a deal with the Trump brand, a risky PR move by any stretch, had some feasible way to get out.

        • The last thing Trump is going to do is listen to anyone trying to advise him on messaging.

    • Interesting. I could see Andres arguing that Trump’s comments could impact his business in the building (if indeed a morals clause was present). I hope him the best. The entire situation sucks.

  • DC1

    Much respect for Jose Andres and his team.

  • Jose Andres showed a lot of class with that statement. Never been a huge follower of his restaurants, but he’s definitely gained a fan over here!

  • I doubt the petition had any effect one way or the other but it’s certainly an interesting development!

  • loved jose & his restaurants before, and now even more after this. bravo.

  • I wonder if the Trumps realize how bad this could get for them. PWhile tourists might elect to stay at that hotel, they are going to have a hard time getting much banquet and conference business if their brand is toxic.

  • Seems like now it’s time to ask Geoffrey Zakarian if he plans to move forward with his restaurant, and if so, why?

    • Exactly. I never understood why people focused in on Andres. He isn’t Mexican. And Zakarian’s employees and patrons are just as likely to be hispanic as Adres’ or any other chef’s.

      • Andres isn’t Mexican but he is an immigrant.

        • Okay, but that isn’t the controversy…Trump called Mexicans who were illegally in the country rapists. He didn’t call them immigrants and he was talking about Mexicans:

          “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems…. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

        • saf

          Who has publicly advocated for immigration reform and said how proud he is to be an immigrant.

  • I’ve never seen a commercial lease with a morals clause before, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one here. But keep in mind that while Trump has a whole army of lawyers, I’m sure Andrés’s lawyers aren’t scrubs either. You can be sure he got whatever advice he needed to get before he took those steps and made a decision that isn’t likely to bankrupt his empire.

    • Even this lawsuit wouldn’t bankrupt his empire. Trump is entitled to damages at best, which the law would typically require him to mitigate reasonably. Sure, a ten year lease paid in full is a pretty penny, but I doubt it would bankrupt Andres and it is highly unlikely Trump would get that much for breach of contract here.

    • maybe not a commercial lease, but moral clauses are commonplace. just saying

  • Good for Jose Andres, it’s nice to see someone in his position put principles above the Almighty Dollar. It’s difficult to know how a litigation would play out without seeing the actual contract, but my guess is that Andres’ lawyers were persuaded that they had some kind of a defense based on commercial impractibility; in other words, Andres would never have entered the contract had he known that Trump was going to denigrate publicly an entire nation from which Andres probably draws many of his workers.

    Unless the contract has a truly extraordinary liquidated damages clause, good luck getting that ten years’ rent Donald. You’d think a guy with his experience in real estate would have heard of the concept of mitigation. What a dope.

    • “Good for Jose Andres, it’s nice to see someone in his position put principles above the Almighty Dollar. ” Let’s be honest, making this move is undoubtedly protecting his brand and current business. So I don’t know he’s really doing this all for principle.

      • I certainly agree that there are commercial reasons for doing this, but I also like to think that people listen to their better angels at least once in a while.

        By the way, I think a colorable case could already be made out against Trump under the “Accommodations” provision of the DC Human Rights Act to the extent that Trump’s remarks could be interpreted as meaning that Mexicans are less than welcome at Trump’s DC property. So perhaps Andres’ lawyers were thinking along those lines as well when evaluating their defenses.

      • Yes, he is. He’s gangster. I know.

    • Jose Andres has always been a stand up guy. He runs trainings for his busboys to learn how to be bartenders and waiters so they can make more money. He really invests in his people. He’s gotten a bunch of awards from the Restaurant Opportunity Center for being a fair and good employer.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      What people don’t realize is commercial leases are different than residential leases. The protections like mitigation requirements are not always there. I am not sure if D.C. requires commercial landlords to mitigate, but some places do not have a requirement, so if a commercial tenant defaults they are still liable.

  • Now we just need the GSA to cancel the Hotel contract. Trump prolly has all sorts of tax breaks and other incentives from We the People. Hopefully the bureaucratic wheels are in motion. I would argue that his “brand” has a negative impact on the city, the Old Post Office heritage, and that the prospects for the hotel as an ongoing entity have been severely damaged. Further, the net benefit to the city and Fed of the #2 bidder is now probably far better.

    • That gets info dicey territory, with the First Amendment. Andres is one thing but the government can’t end a contract just because they don’t like the someone’s political beliefs. Only if there’s unlawful employment discrimination–but I’d argue Trump has hired a huge number of Mexicans.

    • They can terminate for convenience. It won’t be free though. The hotel would be entitled to costs and fair/reasonable profit.

  • I wonder how many conventions and meeting planners would be willing to host events at the Trump hotel after this. Trump got the lease on the historic building in part by selling the idea that planners would be lining up to take advantage of the facility.

    • There ARE conservative organizations in this city, the kind whose membership supports Trump’s got-mine style of doing business, and whose conference participants would be thrilled to stay at a fancy big-city hotel with Trump’s name on it.
      And there are organizations who will take whatever they can get when the rest of the big room blocks in the city are booked solid.

      • How much do those CPAC weenies bring into the city? Most of them are young conservatives, so probably not huge spenders when they’re here.

    • Pretty much any liberal cause is out. You’re going to have a lot of non-profits who won’t want to associate with him. Anyone with any sort of public profile will not want to associate with the Trump brand. I’m guessing that organizations still willing to do business with him are limited to the hard right. My question is, how is he going to attract major talent to running the hotel? No one wants to be associated with him now.

    • justinbc

      It probably wouldn’t be that hard to find the occupancy rates for his other properties to see whether they’ve been impacted at all after his remarks.

    • I think this overestimates the likelihood that anyone will care in a year when this hotel finally opens.

      At the end of the day, I hope the hotel succeeds because I love that building and am so happy to see it become more accessible. I really wish Trump wasn’t behind it, but I’m a bleeding heart liberal and if a good restaurant goes in there, I’m still going to go eat there. Hopefully if his business suffers elsewhere he will eventually sell his lease to someone else and get out of here.

  • 2 Quick Thoughts:

    (1) The business fallout from Trump’s comments is particularly ridiculous given the fact that these people decided to engage in business with Trump in the first place. Trump has a pretty solid history of being a racist and a bigot, so this should be no surprise to anyone. All this sanctimonious grandstanding is getting out of control.

    (2) American business now cares about Mexicans? Again, smells disingenuous from the jump.

    Happy to see Trump fail and ultimately hope he doesn’t open up in DC.

  • First off I’ll out myself as one of the naysayers in the previous thread. Wow. Great move Jose!! I like him even more now.
    I’d also like to see some of the petitioners step up to the plate. Maybe a kickstarter to fun his undoubtedly large legal bill.
    I’m also wondering where the project is going at this point. It seems like this won’t blow over, so who is going to want to stay at a Trump hotel in downtown DC? Is this place going to house exclusively rich white supremacists? Seems like this maybe be heading towards disaster for the city too.

    • justinbc

      “It seems like this won’t blow over, so who is going to want to stay at a Trump hotel in downtown DC? Is this place going to house exclusively rich white supremacists?”
      I think you’re giving the American collective attention span entirely too much credit. In a year, or likely much less, most anyone shopping on Expedia or other sites will have completely forgotten this moment.

      • justinbc

        (And especially international tourists, who really don’t care about our politics.)

      • I agree to some extent. Who has declared “I will NEVER fly Delta/ US Air/ Southwest again!!!” and then forgotten all about it once their suitcase was returned?
        But this Trump situation has the advantage of being tied by name to an asshole who is incapable of keeping his mouth shut. As long as he continues to spew hateful elitist views, the negative associations will be reinforced. So there’s that.

        • Except that is easily remedied. While he’s an egotistical maniac who probably wouldn’t change the name, it wouldn’t be that hard to shift the perception away by simply calling the hotel something else.

  • Even without some sort of morality clause or other wording in the contract there is certainly provisions in there that Trump has to actually deliver the space to be leased on time. Does anybody think this hotel is going to open on schedule at this point?! A flagship restaurant backing out is one thing; the majority Hispanic workforce that will be BUILDING the damn thing is an entirely different story. I don’t think we’ve heard the end of that.

  • thanks Jose! that was the right decision. I just booked a party of 6 at Oyamel to celebrate.

  • While I am not a lawyer and know nothing about the specifics of the lease, I am going assume Trump isn’t really familiar with the specifics either when he made that statement. There is no way Andres signed a lease preventing him from opening up other restaurants in the DC area as Trump implied.

    Also keep in mind Trump doesn’t have unlimited money as he likes to pretend he does. With all of the other people he has already threatened to sue, I think this may be pretty far down the list.

  • I’m not a litigator, but I’d volunteer my legal services pro bono or contribute to Jose’s legal defense fund if he is sued. Fortunately, it will be hard for Trump to get very much out of this especially if they’re able to lease the space for the same amount. Probably won’t even sue.

  • Frustration of Purpose.

  • Now if we could just get Trump out of the Old Post Office.

  • Again, this is a simple contract issue – voidable.

    If Jose Andres needs any insight he can simply ask the lawyers at NBCUniversal and/or ESPN/ABC. I’m thinking they understand the situation.

    Bye Bye Donnie.

  • Atta boy! Glad to hear this.

  • I was so pleasantly surprised to read this today! Good choice for Jose. He and his remaining restaurants can have all my money.

    Similar to the discussions related to people avoiding Trump hotel, I’d be curious to see if Jose’s restaurants see any type of surge in popularity now from DC residents trying to express their support…

  • Much support Jose Andres!

    I’ll make it a point to be sure and frequent your eateries with my family more often.

  • Ummmmm, likely not the sole reason… Jose makes up his own mind.. It may have helped, but ultimately it’s his decision and don’t think he’s that easily swayed.. He was likely going down this road before the petition…

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