DC Wine Bar Sues Donald Trump's Hotel for 'Unfair Competition'

The bar and restaurant isn't looking for monetary damages, but for Trump to give up ownership of the hotel, which they say is disproportionately attracting business from foreign officials and diplomats.
March 9, 2017, 11:22pm

In true David vs. Goliath fashion, a DC restaurant and wine bar called Cork is suing Donald Trump, a.k.a. the President of the United States of America, and his luxury hotel for taking a bite out of their business.

The married couple behind Cork Wine Bar alleges that since Trump assumed the presidency in January, they've been unable to compete with the nearby Trump hotel, a mere 1.5 miles away, as foreign officials and diplomats attempt to wheedle their way into his good graces by patronizing his businesses.

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Cork claims that a great deal of their business comes from hosting groups for political fundraisers and other internationally focused events. However, one of their attorneys, Scott Rome, told The Washingtonian that Cork has had "significantly less income" since Trump's inauguration.

The lawsuit, which is available to read in full online, states that it would be advantageous to foreign guests "in their dealings with President Donald J. Trump and other agencies of the United States Government if they patronized the [Trump] Hotel."

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It also argues that Trump's hotel lease has also been broken since he became President, because the agreement states that "No member or delegate of Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom."
Cork is not seeking monetary damages, but instead hoping that Trump will be forced to hand over ownership of his DC-area businesses in order to create a "level playing field" for other competitors.

Trump's team seems unconcerned so far. In a statement to MUNCHIES, Alan Garten, the Vice President of the Trump Organization, says, "The lawsuit is a wild publicity stunt completely lacking in legal merit."

MUNCHIES has also reached out to Cork and its legal team for comment on the matter but has not yet received a response.