D.C. Wine Bar Sues President Trump for Unfair Competition

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 10, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A local wine bar is taking the president to court. Or at least trying to. Cork Wine Bar in Washington, D.C. is suing President Donald Trump, claiming his continued ownership of the Trump International Hotel constitutes unfair competition under District of Columbia law.

The lawsuit claims that even though Trump placed control of his business interests to his adult sons, he continues to benefit from ownership of the hotel and that customers looking to curry favor with the new administration have left Cork for Trump International. You can see the full lawsuit below.

Unfair Advantage

The gist of Cork's claims is that much of its income was derived from serving "individuals and organizations, including many from outside the United States, who have business of one kind or another with -- including seeking to influence the policies of -- the United States Government and its elected officials." And now that President Trump is in office, that business has moved a mile and a half south, to the Trump International Hotel:

The reason for the increase in business for the Defendants was the perception by many of the customers and prospective customers of the Hotel, substantially aided by the marketing efforts of officers and employees of the Hotel, as well as members of the family of Defendant Donald. J. Trump and others associated with him, that it would be to their advantage in their dealings with President Donald J. Trump and other agencies of the United States Government if they patronized the Hotel.

Unfair Promotion

The lawsuit also claims that Trump's attempted divestiture by placing his sons in control of his businesses is far from adequate, and that Trump surrogates have continued to tour his brand and the hotel. The point to Press Secretary Sean Spicer's comments in January, telling a televised press conference, "It's an absolutely stunning hotel. I encourage you to go there if you haven't been by."

Cork is asking the court to either shut Trump International Hotel down or order him and his family to fully divest their stake in the Hotel. But they also note there's a third option: "Defendant Donald Trump resigning as President of the United States."

The full lawsuit is below:

Cork Wine Bar v. Donald Trump by FindLaw on Scribd

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