3:08pm PT by Austin Siegemund-Broka
Donald Trump's Hotel Sues Unions for "Deceptive" Flyers About Campaign Rally
In a complaint Wednesday, the corporation behind the Trump Hotel Las Vegas (comprising Trump and Phil Ruffin) claim the Culinary Union and Bartenders Union, which are trying to unionize Trump Hotel workers, distributed "deceptively misleading" flyers about Trump's recent campaign event in Las Vegas.
The lawsuit, filed in Nevada, opens with praise for the hotel: "Trump Hotel Las Vegas is a luxury hotel and condominium in Las Vegas. Each room contains floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping, panoramic views of the city set against a majestic backdrop of the surrounding mountains."
Similar commentary follows of Trump, who the lawsuit proclaims is "the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence" and "the archetypal businessman — a deal maker without peer" whose "name is synonymous with fame, fortune and luxury."
The lawsuit states Trump held his Oct. 8 event not in the Trump Hotel, but in the nearby Treasure Island hotel because his hotel couldn't meet the "overwhelming public demand" to attend the event.
But Trump himself stayed the night in the Trump Hotel — which runs contrary to flyers the unions distributed and continue to publish online, says the hotel's lawyers.
The hotel claims by publishing the "false and deceptively misleading" statement that Trump stayed at Treasure Island, not the Trump Hotel, "defendants communicated to the public that the quality of the accommodations of Trump Hotel Las Vegas was not 'good enough' for Mr. Trump."
The unions intended to harm the hotel's reputation and have "acknowledged that the Flyer contained an incorrect statement of fact” without correcting or removing the flyer from the group's website, states the complaint.
"While Defendants are entitled to a certain level of free speech, such rights do not include, among other things, publishing false and/or deceptively misleading information that will mislead the public regarding the quality of services a business provides, or otherwise impugns a business’ goodwill and reputation," it continues.
Represented by Las Vegas' Jonathan Fountain, the hotel claims false advertising under federal law and Nevada deceptive trade practices. The plaintiff wants an injunction and unspecified damages.
A Culinary Union spokesperson responds to The Hollywood Reporter, "The leaflet was not defamatory even though Trump Hotel Las Vegas claims it was in error. All we have is Donald Trump's lawyer claiming that he did not 'stay' there. Trump does not deny that he spoke at the Treasure Island and we have every reason to believe that he probably used one or more rooms at the Treasure Island to prepare." The spokesperson says the Union never posted the flyer on its website.
"There are over 500 workers who are fighting for justice and respect at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas," continues the spokesperson. "This lawsuit is an effort to distract from the unionizing effort there."
The hotel disputes the unions' claim of 500 workers' support in the complaint, citing http://www.trumpunionfree.org and "many public statements from Trump Hotel Las Vegas employees," who the hotel says number just over 500 total.
The National Labor Relations Board reportedly has received 13 complaints against the hotel since 2014, some of which were settled or withdrawn. Hillary Clinton showed up at a Culinary Union protest a week ago to bash the Republican frontrunner.
Trump also has sued Univision for $500 million over the Hispanic media organization's withdrawal from his Miss Universe pageant after his incendiary comments on Mexican immigrants. A court hearing on the case is scheduled for Tuesday.
Oct. 19, 5:46 p.m. Updated to clarify the Union denying posting the flyer on its website, not denying posting it online.