Trump's Catering Problem

Donald Trump is being sued by a former catering staffer at one of his hotels

Republican candidate for president and great threatener of lawsuits Donald Trump is being sued. Deborah Garcia, who worked as a catering staffer at the Trump Soho hotel in 2013, filed a suit last year claiming that the hotel pocketed the 22 percent service fee added to bills that customers likely thought was earmarked for waitstaff, defying New York labor laws. (The suit was likely dredged up recently because of the election.)

"A reasonable customer would believe that the service was in fact a gratuity for [Garcia] and similarly situated employees," the lawsuit says, according to DNAinfo, which broke the story. In cases where a service fee isn't meant as a "tip," that information must appear on menus and bills in 12-point font, which according to the suit, it didn't. Garcia says she was paid $15 an hour but didn't receive tips.

A rep for the Trump Soho claims that Garcia didn't work for the hotel itself, but rather a third party, issuing a statement:

"The lawsuit filed in 2015 is entirely a reflection of the responsibility of the third-party contractor. . . . The plaintiff has never been a staff member of the Trump Soho hotel. She was contracted by a third party but was never directly employed by Trump Soho hotel."

Garcia is suing not just The Donald, but his daughter, Ivanka; son, Donald Jr.; and the developers of the hotel the Sapir Organization and the Bayrock Group LLC. Who the third party is in this instance is unclear.

In 2012, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office brought a similar complaint against Per Se, which was allegedly withholding tips from staff members who worked private events. Thomas Keller and his team chose to settle the suit last summer to the tune of $500,000.

As for Garcia's case, lawyers are hoping to turn it into a class action suit. Parties are due to return to court September 1.