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Wendy’s Wants to Get Paid for Surrendering ‘Dave Thomas Circle,’ So It Hired a Trump Lawyer

The burger chain is arguing in court documents that it’s being forced to vacate an iconic property

DC’s Dave Thomas Circle - The Intersection at Florida and New York Avenues NE
The Wendy’s location in “Dave Thomas Circle” will close by September 30.
Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The saga of D.C.’s infamous “Dave Thomas Circle” is coming to a close, but as Wendy’s vacates a location the city has claimed in a case of eminent domain, the burger chain is attempting to demand a payout for its trouble.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced last week that Wendy’s would exit the building at the center of a dangerous intersection along New York Avenue NE by September 30. The triangular plot bordered by three roads is so well-known for slowing traffic and generating accidents that the city government felt compelled to condemn the land and pay the property owner, CRV Sunrise, $13.1 million to acquire it with plans to build a park in its place.

Wendy’s, which does not own the building or the land, has agreed to leave, but claims it’s owed a piece of that sum.

DCist reports Wendy’s hired attorney Mark “Thor” Hearne — a Republican lawyer who represented former President Donald Trump in a suit attempting to impede the state of Michigan from counting votes in the 2020 election — to argue the city hasn’t properly compensated the fast food chain for shutting down an unofficial landmark that residents and officials call Dave Thomas Circle. In court documents filed in the eminent domain case, Hearne argues that the location is “internationally known” and a “highly valuable property interest of Wendy’s.” Hearne also argued that by waiting to demolish the building, D.C. was devaluing the fast food brand because its building and signage could deteriorate and be defaced with graffiti.

In a statement over the weekend, Wendy’s told DCist it is looking to ensure “we are compensated appropriately for the restaurant relocation, and for our lost name and business association between the Dave Thomas Circle and the Wendy’s brand.” D.C. rejected a previous attempt by Hearne to get Wendy’s into the conversation for compensation, but the city is reportedly helping the company secure a new location.

This week, Washingtonians have been visiting the much-maligned landmark for a final sendoff.