No elected official may benefit from the lease

The owners of a popular wine bar in DC are suing Trump and his DC hotel.

Mr. Pitts and Ms. Gross claim that the Trump International Hotel, in the Old Post Office building in Washington, and the restaurants within enjoy an illegal advantage in the city’s restaurant market because of their association with Mr. Trump and that Cork has suffered as a result.

“We’re used to a lot of competition — it makes you better, faster, stronger — but the competition that’s coming from the hotel is not fair,” Ms. Gross said.

The wine bar, which serves more than 50 varieties by the glass, has hosted events for a variety of groups, including White House officials, members of Congress, the World Bank, Naral Pro-Choice America and the Sierra Club, according to the couple.

But Cork is losing business to the Trump hotel, which they say — as others have suggested — may be attracting diplomats and politicians looking to curry favor with Mr. Trump.

We’ve heard from diplomats and politicians saying they are doing just that, so it’s not a very far-fetched claim.

Ms. Gross and Mr. Pitts are not seeking monetary damages. But the suit, filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, offers a few improbable ways to resolve the issue: The hotel can stop operating; Mr. Trump and his family can fully divest from the business; or Mr. Trump can resign from office.

It shouldn’t be all that improbable. He shouldn’t be carrying on the way he is, and someone should be able to make him stop.

The pair is represented by a team of lawyers who are working for free. That team, led by the law offices of Mark S. Zaid and the Veritas Law Firm, includes the George Washington University Law School professors Alan B. Morrison, who co-founded and led a public interest group with Ralph Nader, and Steven L. Schooner.

Mr. Schooner, who specializes in government procurement law, has repeatedly warned that Mr. Trump may be in violation of the lease his company signed with the federal government for the post office building.

One clause of the lease, in particular, states that no elected official may benefit from the lease. The clause’s presence, the couple’s lawyers argue, supports Cork’s claim of unfair competition.

It’s a clause in the lease, but apparently that’s still a “far-fetched” reason to make him stop.

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