De Blasio vowed to break the city’s ties to Trump over the January 6 Capitol riot. Part of that includes ending his contract at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point years before its 2035 expiry.
New York gave Trump just until November 15 to clear out.
A heated public hearing on Tuesday saw numerous people criticize the city for ending its lucrative contract over a ‘political vendetta,’ and a lawyer for the golf course accused de Blasio of trying to saddle New Yorkers with a $30 million tax bill ‘just to get rid of the name.’
‘He wants to CONFISCATE the project from me for no reason whatsoever, and terminate my long-term arrangement with the city—and to think I just opened a beautiful $10 million clubhouse,’ Trump wrote of de Blasio in an emailed statement through his Save America PAC.
‘The course has received rave reviews, is considered one of the top ten open to the public facilities in the United States (could even be the best!), is designed for tournament play, and Mayor De Blasio wants to take it away after all of the work was so successfully done, and so much money was spent.’
He added, ‘So unfair—this is what happens in Communist Countries, not in America!’
Trump also lauded those who helped him get the project off the ground.
Trump is accusing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio of ‘confiscating’ his Bronx golf course despite it being a source of revenue and jobs for the city
‘It was an amazing effort by many people pulling together to finally revitalize this troubled part of New York City,’ he said.
The 220-acre plot of land in New York’s Bronx borough was a landfill for decades before former Mayor Rudy Giuliani orchestrated a deal in 2000 to develop it into a luxury golf course.
Environmental concerns and contract disputes forced the original developers to drop out and the city, desperate to complete the project, secured a deal with the Trump Organization to take it over.
After opening in 2015 the Ferry Point course has had a mostly profitable run and became a setting for professional golf tournaments, pumping money into the local economy.
But after the Capitol riot, a number of groups including the Professional Golf Association moved to sever ties with Trump – and the city of New York followed suit.
The PGA canceled its 2022 championship set for a different Trump golf course in New Jersey.
City officials said that Trump could no longer argue he can attract prestigious tournaments to the Bronx course as is required in the contract following the negative publicity surrounding the Capitol riot.
Trump’s team said the contract doesn´t require it to attract tournaments, only obliging it maintain a course that is ‘first-class, tournament quality.’
The Trump Organization sued the City of New York in June claiming the termination was done for purely political reasons.
Trump opened Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in 2015 after being given a good deal by the city to take over the land
City officials said that Trump could no longer argue he can attract prestigious tournaments to the Bronx course as is required in the contract because of negative publicity surrounding the Capitol riot
Trump Organization lawyers have argued that the Capitol riot should have nothing to do with golf (pictured in 2015 at a golf tournament hosted at his Bronx course)
Trump representatives argue that the city would owe them at least $30 million – the money they put into refurbishing and building up the site – if they ended the contract. In a recent court filing, the city appeared to agree they would pay them an early contract termination penalty if necessary but disputed the figure.
In the meantime, the city is working desperately to find a new contractor to take over the course.
At a public hearing on Tuesday, representatives for the president’s company, employees as well as private citizens lined up to accuse New York’s mayor of putting politics ahead of New Yorkers.
Kenneth Caruso, a lawyer for Trump Ferry Point, LLC, questioned why a ‘lame duck’ mayor was being allowed to make decisions that would affect citywide finances.
De Blasio’s second and final term as mayor is over at the end of December.
‘We suggest that this Committee would not, and should not, facilitate a $30 million payment to indulge the preferences or priorities, political or substantive, of any lame duck, at any level of government in this City,’ Caruso said in his planned statement.
‘We submit, the taxpayers of this City should not be required to pay $30 million, or some amount (in the City’s calculation) even approaching $30 million, just to get rid of the name “Trump” at a golf course.’
At another point in the hearing someone who identified as an employee of Trump’s Bronx course said he was there from the beginning and his ‘blood, sweat and tears went into the property.’
He lamented that the course was being ‘taken away for something that’s not our fault as employees’ but rather a suspected political goal.
‘I don’t know how else to convey that other than it’s really, really disappointing,’ he said.
Another employee of the course questioned why the city was rushing to meet a self-imposed November deadline before the matter could be decided in court.
‘Why are we wasting the time and energy? Because someone has a vendetta? That’s not how American democracy is supposed to work,’ they said.
De Blasio’s fellow city officials were also part of the barrage of criticism against him.
The Trump Organization claims it spent $30 million enhancing the space, which the city would owe if it terminated the contract early. City officials dispute the figure
Albert D’Angelo, chairman of Bronx Community Board 11 said the city failed to consult local residents before the upheval.
‘Before any decision is made by the City of New York, they need to talk to the people in the area,’ D’Angelo said, adding that ‘hasn’t been done.’
He added that the financial benefit of wealthier people visiting golf course bled out into the surrounding area, pumping much-needed money into the local economy across multiple Bronx neighborhoods.
‘Some of them are even going to restaurants in the Throggs Neck area,’ he said. ‘To destroy that because of political reasons is a disgrace.’
Veteran Gene DeFrancis, a lifelong Bronx resident who also holds a leadership post in the Bronx County American Legion, said the Trump golf course has been ‘good friends’ to the veterans’ group.
He described how the Trump Organization agreed to donate golf carts to the group to help veterans with mobility issues better access the Veterans Affairs medical center in the nearby Kingsbridge neighborhood.
‘This needs to stop. we need to come together and stop with this partisanship,’ DeFrancis said.
At the Tuesday hearing a Bronx-based veteran said Trump donated golf carts from the course to the local VA hospital
A court filing in the ongoing legal battle revealed last week that de Blasio was prepared to fork over millions to get Trump out of the Bronx.
Sources close to the legal proceedings told DailyMail.com that de Blasio was more focused on satisfying his political agenda than fixing his city’s burgeoning problems.
In their suit the company said the move was politically motivated by de Blasio’s disdain for the former president.
The city said Trump was clearly in breach of the contract terms over the MAGA riot and it will ‘vigorously defend’ its decision.
But in the September 30 filing, it appears that the city is conceding that it’ll pay Trump if it has to.
Lawyers for NYC argue that even if there were insufficient ties to end the contract for violations, the city could still boot Trump ‘under the at-will provision.’
Terms within the contract say New York City can terminate its deal with Trump at any time without cause, but would be obligated to compensate his company for money it invested in building a clubhouse on the course.
The ‘Termination Payment,’ as it’s referred to in the lawsuit, is $30 million, according to the company.
De Blasio booting Trump from New York was part of a larger wave of backlash as banks and other companies backed away from doing business with the former president
New York City officials have disputed the figure, claiming it’s ‘wholly unsupported and contrary to [city Park and Recreation Department] accounting thus far.’
When de Blasio announced he was kicking Trump off the course in January, he cited Trump´s ‘criminal action’ in inciting Capitol rioters, arguing that he could fire him ‘for cause’ and not pay him a dime.
But last week, Caruso told DailyMail.com that city officials’ claims the company violated their contract were ‘cover’ for the mayor’s ‘political retaliation.’
‘The Trump Organization’s long-term license for this property is legally binding, enforceable, and remains in full force and effect,’ the lawyer said.
‘The City’s alleged “termination for breach of contract” was a mere pretext that Mayor de Blasio used as a cover for his political retaliation.
‘The City’s position has no legal merit and we will continue to vigorously defend our right to possession and control of the property for the remainder of the 20-year term, against both the City and anyone to whom the City purports to issue a replacement license.’
Trump Ferry Link lawyers denied a connection between the Bronx course and the Capitol riot again in an early October court filing.
‘Whatever else may be said about the events of January 6 and later events cited by the City, those events had nothing to do with golf,’ the October 6 filing stated.
‘And Mayor de Blasio’s effort to stretch those events to reach TFP’s golfing business merely reveals his pretext behind the claim of breach here: The Mayor seized upon the events of January 6 as a pretext to retaliate against President Trump.’
Trying to replace Trump by November 15 has not been easy for de Blasio.
A prominent homeless shelter operator was set to take over the space for a 13-year lease, it was announced in late September. CORE Services Group, Inc. was the company behind the move despite its CEO, Jack A. Brown, having no prior experience managing a golf course.
But CORE withdrew just two days later amid reports of Brown’s shady past business dealings.
A New York Times investigation from Sunday uncovered specific accusations of what one city official called ‘a disturbing pattern of ethical violations’ on Brown’s part.
The CEO’s nonprofit has reportedly channeled $32 million worth of contracts into for-profit companies he also owns and hired relatives to lucrative positions.
Brown has already received more than $352 million from the City of New York just since 2017 as it sought to combat record-setting levels of homelessness.
Trump is an avid golfer himself and has multiple golf courses around the world (pictured at Trump National Golf Club in Virginia in November 2020)
De Blasio admitted on Monday that ‘it doesn’t make sense’ to have picked CORE to replace Trump’s contract, according to The City.
‘I don’t understand why CORE was in that mix,’ he said in response to the New York Times’s findings.
On top of not offering a concrete explanation de Blasio also sought to distance himself from blame.
‘Sometimes agencies don’t communicate properly and information is not shared properly. That is my suspicion here too, because it wouldn’t have made sense to pursue something with this nonprofit,’ he said.
An Atlanta-based company called Bobby Jones Links that specializes in managing golf courses was set to help CORE operate the course.
Bobby Jones Links will now move forward with its own contract under the brand Affiniti Ferry Point LLC.
The company is also intending to slash Trump’s prices, according to a concession agreement proposal posted online by the city’s Parks Department.
City residents would pay $140 on a weekday and $167 on a weekend. The current rates for the same group are currently $154 and $185.