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A Washington, D.C., Restaurant Is Suing the Trump Hotel for ‘Unfair Advantage’

A Washington, D.C., Restaurant Is Suing the Trump Hotel for ‘Unfair Advantage’


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The owners of Cork Wine Bar are demanding that the Trump Hotel restaurants close for the duration of the presidency

Tourists have flocked to Trump hotels and restaurants since Election Day.

In the days leading up to and since Election Day, Donald Trump has faced multiple lawsuits. The latest legal scuffle comes from Cork Wine Bar, which is suing the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., for unfair competition. The owners of the Cork Wine Bar, Khalid Pitts and Diane Gross, complain in a lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court that not only does the Trump Hotel now have an unfair advantage in attracting tourists, but it has become a meeting hotspot for White House guests, advisers, and politicians as well, according to The Washington Post.

Cork Wine Bar — which is a 12-minute drive from the newly opened hotel — is not seeking financial compensation. Rather, the lawsuit demands that the court order the hotel and restaurants to be closed during the remainder of the Trump presidency.

“The effects of that unfair advantage are magnified greatly by marketing activities of the hotel’s officers and employees and the similar activities of defendant Trump, his family, and the White House staff and/or advisors,” the lawsuit reads.

Although the president has taken some steps to distance himself from his businesses — sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are now in charge of the hotel in question, for instance — he encourages his advisers and constituents to dine at BLT Prime, the steakhouse in the hotel.

“We have events we do here for elected officials, nonprofits, foreign dignitaries, the World Bank, law firms,” Diane Gross told The Washington Post. “Those folks are now being courted to come and want to go there because they see it as advantageous to them to curry favor with the president.”

This is not the only lawsuit filed in the name of Trump’s D.C. hotel. Last year, both Geoffrey Zakarian and José Andrés were sued (and both countersued) after pulling out of their respective restaurant contracts with the hotel.


Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump and DC hotel brought by restaurant owners

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump Donald TrumpMo Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit Democratic congressional election review finds party lacked economic, pandemic recovery message in 2020 Courts drowning in backlog pose lingering immigration challenge MORE and his Trump International Hotel that claimed the hotel gets an unfair business advantage from its affiliation with the president.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Cork Wine Bar. The owners argued that foreign leaders, lobbyists and government officials were more likely to book at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's influence.

“If they have a party to book, they’re going to book it there first, whether to gain influence with the president, to gain influence with the administration,” the restaurant's attorney Scott Rome said last year. “And he shows up there on weekends, so you get personal face time by going there.”

Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a ruling Monday that Cork Wine Bar "failed to state a claim for unfair competition."

Leon said he cannot bar public figures, including Trump, from "taking equity in the companies they promote."

Leon also wrote that "there are constitutional questions of profound weight and import lurking within this case" but added that Cork Wine Bar had failed to make a claim of unfair competition.

"The pending motions can be resolved without opening that Pandora's box of novel issues. Thus . I have concluded on the merits that Cork has failed to state a claim of unfair competition under D.C. law," Leon wrote.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the owners of the Cork Wine Bar, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill last year that they were suing Trump because the hotel and its dining establishments were "not playing fairly."

"The president's name, well-known ownership and presence give the Trump International Hotel a big leg up in winning the competition of attracting diners and tourists, and hosting lucrative events where many people gather to drink and dine or even more intimate political dinners," they wrote.

They also argued that the hotel was in violation of its lease, which prevents any elected officials from having an ownership stake "in the hotel where he or she receives benefits while in elective office."

The lawsuit filed by the Cork Wine Bar is separate from one alleging Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his D.C. hotel.

The Emoluments Clause bans a sitting president from taking gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.


Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump and DC hotel brought by restaurant owners

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump Donald TrumpMo Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit Democratic congressional election review finds party lacked economic, pandemic recovery message in 2020 Courts drowning in backlog pose lingering immigration challenge MORE and his Trump International Hotel that claimed the hotel gets an unfair business advantage from its affiliation with the president.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Cork Wine Bar. The owners argued that foreign leaders, lobbyists and government officials were more likely to book at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's influence.

“If they have a party to book, they’re going to book it there first, whether to gain influence with the president, to gain influence with the administration,” the restaurant's attorney Scott Rome said last year. “And he shows up there on weekends, so you get personal face time by going there.”

Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a ruling Monday that Cork Wine Bar "failed to state a claim for unfair competition."

Leon said he cannot bar public figures, including Trump, from "taking equity in the companies they promote."

Leon also wrote that "there are constitutional questions of profound weight and import lurking within this case" but added that Cork Wine Bar had failed to make a claim of unfair competition.

"The pending motions can be resolved without opening that Pandora's box of novel issues. Thus . I have concluded on the merits that Cork has failed to state a claim of unfair competition under D.C. law," Leon wrote.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the owners of the Cork Wine Bar, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill last year that they were suing Trump because the hotel and its dining establishments were "not playing fairly."

"The president's name, well-known ownership and presence give the Trump International Hotel a big leg up in winning the competition of attracting diners and tourists, and hosting lucrative events where many people gather to drink and dine or even more intimate political dinners," they wrote.

They also argued that the hotel was in violation of its lease, which prevents any elected officials from having an ownership stake "in the hotel where he or she receives benefits while in elective office."

The lawsuit filed by the Cork Wine Bar is separate from one alleging Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his D.C. hotel.

The Emoluments Clause bans a sitting president from taking gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.


Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump and DC hotel brought by restaurant owners

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump Donald TrumpMo Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit Democratic congressional election review finds party lacked economic, pandemic recovery message in 2020 Courts drowning in backlog pose lingering immigration challenge MORE and his Trump International Hotel that claimed the hotel gets an unfair business advantage from its affiliation with the president.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Cork Wine Bar. The owners argued that foreign leaders, lobbyists and government officials were more likely to book at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's influence.

“If they have a party to book, they’re going to book it there first, whether to gain influence with the president, to gain influence with the administration,” the restaurant's attorney Scott Rome said last year. “And he shows up there on weekends, so you get personal face time by going there.”

Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a ruling Monday that Cork Wine Bar "failed to state a claim for unfair competition."

Leon said he cannot bar public figures, including Trump, from "taking equity in the companies they promote."

Leon also wrote that "there are constitutional questions of profound weight and import lurking within this case" but added that Cork Wine Bar had failed to make a claim of unfair competition.

"The pending motions can be resolved without opening that Pandora's box of novel issues. Thus . I have concluded on the merits that Cork has failed to state a claim of unfair competition under D.C. law," Leon wrote.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the owners of the Cork Wine Bar, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill last year that they were suing Trump because the hotel and its dining establishments were "not playing fairly."

"The president's name, well-known ownership and presence give the Trump International Hotel a big leg up in winning the competition of attracting diners and tourists, and hosting lucrative events where many people gather to drink and dine or even more intimate political dinners," they wrote.

They also argued that the hotel was in violation of its lease, which prevents any elected officials from having an ownership stake "in the hotel where he or she receives benefits while in elective office."

The lawsuit filed by the Cork Wine Bar is separate from one alleging Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his D.C. hotel.

The Emoluments Clause bans a sitting president from taking gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.


Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump and DC hotel brought by restaurant owners

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump Donald TrumpMo Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit Democratic congressional election review finds party lacked economic, pandemic recovery message in 2020 Courts drowning in backlog pose lingering immigration challenge MORE and his Trump International Hotel that claimed the hotel gets an unfair business advantage from its affiliation with the president.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Cork Wine Bar. The owners argued that foreign leaders, lobbyists and government officials were more likely to book at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's influence.

“If they have a party to book, they’re going to book it there first, whether to gain influence with the president, to gain influence with the administration,” the restaurant's attorney Scott Rome said last year. “And he shows up there on weekends, so you get personal face time by going there.”

Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a ruling Monday that Cork Wine Bar "failed to state a claim for unfair competition."

Leon said he cannot bar public figures, including Trump, from "taking equity in the companies they promote."

Leon also wrote that "there are constitutional questions of profound weight and import lurking within this case" but added that Cork Wine Bar had failed to make a claim of unfair competition.

"The pending motions can be resolved without opening that Pandora's box of novel issues. Thus . I have concluded on the merits that Cork has failed to state a claim of unfair competition under D.C. law," Leon wrote.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the owners of the Cork Wine Bar, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill last year that they were suing Trump because the hotel and its dining establishments were "not playing fairly."

"The president's name, well-known ownership and presence give the Trump International Hotel a big leg up in winning the competition of attracting diners and tourists, and hosting lucrative events where many people gather to drink and dine or even more intimate political dinners," they wrote.

They also argued that the hotel was in violation of its lease, which prevents any elected officials from having an ownership stake "in the hotel where he or she receives benefits while in elective office."

The lawsuit filed by the Cork Wine Bar is separate from one alleging Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his D.C. hotel.

The Emoluments Clause bans a sitting president from taking gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.


Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump and DC hotel brought by restaurant owners

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump Donald TrumpMo Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit Democratic congressional election review finds party lacked economic, pandemic recovery message in 2020 Courts drowning in backlog pose lingering immigration challenge MORE and his Trump International Hotel that claimed the hotel gets an unfair business advantage from its affiliation with the president.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Cork Wine Bar. The owners argued that foreign leaders, lobbyists and government officials were more likely to book at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's influence.

“If they have a party to book, they’re going to book it there first, whether to gain influence with the president, to gain influence with the administration,” the restaurant's attorney Scott Rome said last year. “And he shows up there on weekends, so you get personal face time by going there.”

Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a ruling Monday that Cork Wine Bar "failed to state a claim for unfair competition."

Leon said he cannot bar public figures, including Trump, from "taking equity in the companies they promote."

Leon also wrote that "there are constitutional questions of profound weight and import lurking within this case" but added that Cork Wine Bar had failed to make a claim of unfair competition.

"The pending motions can be resolved without opening that Pandora's box of novel issues. Thus . I have concluded on the merits that Cork has failed to state a claim of unfair competition under D.C. law," Leon wrote.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the owners of the Cork Wine Bar, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill last year that they were suing Trump because the hotel and its dining establishments were "not playing fairly."

"The president's name, well-known ownership and presence give the Trump International Hotel a big leg up in winning the competition of attracting diners and tourists, and hosting lucrative events where many people gather to drink and dine or even more intimate political dinners," they wrote.

They also argued that the hotel was in violation of its lease, which prevents any elected officials from having an ownership stake "in the hotel where he or she receives benefits while in elective office."

The lawsuit filed by the Cork Wine Bar is separate from one alleging Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his D.C. hotel.

The Emoluments Clause bans a sitting president from taking gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.


Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump and DC hotel brought by restaurant owners

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump Donald TrumpMo Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit Democratic congressional election review finds party lacked economic, pandemic recovery message in 2020 Courts drowning in backlog pose lingering immigration challenge MORE and his Trump International Hotel that claimed the hotel gets an unfair business advantage from its affiliation with the president.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Cork Wine Bar. The owners argued that foreign leaders, lobbyists and government officials were more likely to book at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's influence.

“If they have a party to book, they’re going to book it there first, whether to gain influence with the president, to gain influence with the administration,” the restaurant's attorney Scott Rome said last year. “And he shows up there on weekends, so you get personal face time by going there.”

Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a ruling Monday that Cork Wine Bar "failed to state a claim for unfair competition."

Leon said he cannot bar public figures, including Trump, from "taking equity in the companies they promote."

Leon also wrote that "there are constitutional questions of profound weight and import lurking within this case" but added that Cork Wine Bar had failed to make a claim of unfair competition.

"The pending motions can be resolved without opening that Pandora's box of novel issues. Thus . I have concluded on the merits that Cork has failed to state a claim of unfair competition under D.C. law," Leon wrote.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the owners of the Cork Wine Bar, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill last year that they were suing Trump because the hotel and its dining establishments were "not playing fairly."

"The president's name, well-known ownership and presence give the Trump International Hotel a big leg up in winning the competition of attracting diners and tourists, and hosting lucrative events where many people gather to drink and dine or even more intimate political dinners," they wrote.

They also argued that the hotel was in violation of its lease, which prevents any elected officials from having an ownership stake "in the hotel where he or she receives benefits while in elective office."

The lawsuit filed by the Cork Wine Bar is separate from one alleging Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his D.C. hotel.

The Emoluments Clause bans a sitting president from taking gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.


Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump and DC hotel brought by restaurant owners

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump Donald TrumpMo Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit Democratic congressional election review finds party lacked economic, pandemic recovery message in 2020 Courts drowning in backlog pose lingering immigration challenge MORE and his Trump International Hotel that claimed the hotel gets an unfair business advantage from its affiliation with the president.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Cork Wine Bar. The owners argued that foreign leaders, lobbyists and government officials were more likely to book at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's influence.

“If they have a party to book, they’re going to book it there first, whether to gain influence with the president, to gain influence with the administration,” the restaurant's attorney Scott Rome said last year. “And he shows up there on weekends, so you get personal face time by going there.”

Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a ruling Monday that Cork Wine Bar "failed to state a claim for unfair competition."

Leon said he cannot bar public figures, including Trump, from "taking equity in the companies they promote."

Leon also wrote that "there are constitutional questions of profound weight and import lurking within this case" but added that Cork Wine Bar had failed to make a claim of unfair competition.

"The pending motions can be resolved without opening that Pandora's box of novel issues. Thus . I have concluded on the merits that Cork has failed to state a claim of unfair competition under D.C. law," Leon wrote.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the owners of the Cork Wine Bar, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill last year that they were suing Trump because the hotel and its dining establishments were "not playing fairly."

"The president's name, well-known ownership and presence give the Trump International Hotel a big leg up in winning the competition of attracting diners and tourists, and hosting lucrative events where many people gather to drink and dine or even more intimate political dinners," they wrote.

They also argued that the hotel was in violation of its lease, which prevents any elected officials from having an ownership stake "in the hotel where he or she receives benefits while in elective office."

The lawsuit filed by the Cork Wine Bar is separate from one alleging Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his D.C. hotel.

The Emoluments Clause bans a sitting president from taking gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.


Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump and DC hotel brought by restaurant owners

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump Donald TrumpMo Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit Democratic congressional election review finds party lacked economic, pandemic recovery message in 2020 Courts drowning in backlog pose lingering immigration challenge MORE and his Trump International Hotel that claimed the hotel gets an unfair business advantage from its affiliation with the president.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Cork Wine Bar. The owners argued that foreign leaders, lobbyists and government officials were more likely to book at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's influence.

“If they have a party to book, they’re going to book it there first, whether to gain influence with the president, to gain influence with the administration,” the restaurant's attorney Scott Rome said last year. “And he shows up there on weekends, so you get personal face time by going there.”

Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a ruling Monday that Cork Wine Bar "failed to state a claim for unfair competition."

Leon said he cannot bar public figures, including Trump, from "taking equity in the companies they promote."

Leon also wrote that "there are constitutional questions of profound weight and import lurking within this case" but added that Cork Wine Bar had failed to make a claim of unfair competition.

"The pending motions can be resolved without opening that Pandora's box of novel issues. Thus . I have concluded on the merits that Cork has failed to state a claim of unfair competition under D.C. law," Leon wrote.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the owners of the Cork Wine Bar, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill last year that they were suing Trump because the hotel and its dining establishments were "not playing fairly."

"The president's name, well-known ownership and presence give the Trump International Hotel a big leg up in winning the competition of attracting diners and tourists, and hosting lucrative events where many people gather to drink and dine or even more intimate political dinners," they wrote.

They also argued that the hotel was in violation of its lease, which prevents any elected officials from having an ownership stake "in the hotel where he or she receives benefits while in elective office."

The lawsuit filed by the Cork Wine Bar is separate from one alleging Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his D.C. hotel.

The Emoluments Clause bans a sitting president from taking gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.


Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump and DC hotel brought by restaurant owners

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump Donald TrumpMo Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit Democratic congressional election review finds party lacked economic, pandemic recovery message in 2020 Courts drowning in backlog pose lingering immigration challenge MORE and his Trump International Hotel that claimed the hotel gets an unfair business advantage from its affiliation with the president.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Cork Wine Bar. The owners argued that foreign leaders, lobbyists and government officials were more likely to book at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's influence.

“If they have a party to book, they’re going to book it there first, whether to gain influence with the president, to gain influence with the administration,” the restaurant's attorney Scott Rome said last year. “And he shows up there on weekends, so you get personal face time by going there.”

Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a ruling Monday that Cork Wine Bar "failed to state a claim for unfair competition."

Leon said he cannot bar public figures, including Trump, from "taking equity in the companies they promote."

Leon also wrote that "there are constitutional questions of profound weight and import lurking within this case" but added that Cork Wine Bar had failed to make a claim of unfair competition.

"The pending motions can be resolved without opening that Pandora's box of novel issues. Thus . I have concluded on the merits that Cork has failed to state a claim of unfair competition under D.C. law," Leon wrote.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the owners of the Cork Wine Bar, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill last year that they were suing Trump because the hotel and its dining establishments were "not playing fairly."

"The president's name, well-known ownership and presence give the Trump International Hotel a big leg up in winning the competition of attracting diners and tourists, and hosting lucrative events where many people gather to drink and dine or even more intimate political dinners," they wrote.

They also argued that the hotel was in violation of its lease, which prevents any elected officials from having an ownership stake "in the hotel where he or she receives benefits while in elective office."

The lawsuit filed by the Cork Wine Bar is separate from one alleging Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his D.C. hotel.

The Emoluments Clause bans a sitting president from taking gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.


Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump and DC hotel brought by restaurant owners

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump Donald TrumpMo Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit Democratic congressional election review finds party lacked economic, pandemic recovery message in 2020 Courts drowning in backlog pose lingering immigration challenge MORE and his Trump International Hotel that claimed the hotel gets an unfair business advantage from its affiliation with the president.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Cork Wine Bar. The owners argued that foreign leaders, lobbyists and government officials were more likely to book at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's influence.

“If they have a party to book, they’re going to book it there first, whether to gain influence with the president, to gain influence with the administration,” the restaurant's attorney Scott Rome said last year. “And he shows up there on weekends, so you get personal face time by going there.”

Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a ruling Monday that Cork Wine Bar "failed to state a claim for unfair competition."

Leon said he cannot bar public figures, including Trump, from "taking equity in the companies they promote."

Leon also wrote that "there are constitutional questions of profound weight and import lurking within this case" but added that Cork Wine Bar had failed to make a claim of unfair competition.

"The pending motions can be resolved without opening that Pandora's box of novel issues. Thus . I have concluded on the merits that Cork has failed to state a claim of unfair competition under D.C. law," Leon wrote.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the owners of the Cork Wine Bar, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill last year that they were suing Trump because the hotel and its dining establishments were "not playing fairly."

"The president's name, well-known ownership and presence give the Trump International Hotel a big leg up in winning the competition of attracting diners and tourists, and hosting lucrative events where many people gather to drink and dine or even more intimate political dinners," they wrote.

They also argued that the hotel was in violation of its lease, which prevents any elected officials from having an ownership stake "in the hotel where he or she receives benefits while in elective office."

The lawsuit filed by the Cork Wine Bar is separate from one alleging Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his D.C. hotel.

The Emoluments Clause bans a sitting president from taking gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments.


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