Last week, Attorneys General from Maryland and Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, targeting his business empire as violating the Constitution. The complaint alleged that Trump’s global empire violated the Emoluments Clause of the constitution, saying that money paid by foreign officials to the businesses, including hotels, would be illegal. As it turns out, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine may have had another reason for bringing the lawsuit: he’s an investor in a company with ties to a restaurant that recently sued Trump for unfair competition.
Racine listed on his public financial disclosure statement that he is a limited partner in Cork Market and Tasting Room, a D.C. establishment. Just this past March, sister bar Cork Wine Bar, located down the street from Cork Market and Tasting Room, sued President Trump, claiming that the Trump International Hotel in D.C. was unfair competition. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the wine bar by owners Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, who are also owners of Cork Market and Tasting Room, according to American University’s WAMU. That lawsuit, which Trump is moving to have dismissed, alleges that the President’s business was unfairly taking business away from local establishments because foreign dignitaries were going to the Trump hotel in order to gain the President’s favor.
“The president of the United States is taking business away from legitimate businesses. And that’s not fair,” Cork’s attorney, George Washington University law professor Steven Schooner told WAMU.
Isn’t that interesting? An attorney general claiming that the President’s businesses are illegal just so happens to have a stake in a business whose owners operate a competing business? And that competing business just so happened to have already sued the President for unfair competition, claiming that he’s taking customers away. Oh, but surely, you might say, plenty of businesses in D.C. must be suing for the same reason. Nope. Cork is the only one to sue Trump over this issue.