NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced the city is ending three contracts with the Trump Organization following last week’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
The administration said it would begin the process of canceling the agreements to operate the Central Park Carousel, Wollman and Lasker skating rinks, and Ferry Point Golf Course "in accordance with the steps outlined in the contracts."
New York City doesn’t do business with insurrectionists.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 13, 2021
We’re taking steps to TERMINATE agreements with the Trump Organization to operate the Central Park Carousel, Wollman and Lasker skating rinks, and the Ferry Point Golf Course.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, de Blasio said that the city has full legal authority to end its skating rink contracts due to what he called the president’s “criminal act” in “inciting an insurrection” at the capitol last week.
“If I said to you, should we do business with the mafia, you’d say no,” he said. “Unfortunately at this point, the Trump Organization is just another organized crime organization.”
“So, goodbye to the Trump Organization,” he added. “We're not doing any business with you."
The Trump Organization did not respond to NY1's requests for comment.
De Blasio said that the contract for the golf course will be terminated on the grounds that the city expected the Trump Organization to attract major professional golf tournaments. On Sunday, the PGA announced it would no longer host tournaments at Trump-owned courses, which voids the contract, according to the city’s corporation counsel, Jim Johnson.
“They’re therefore in default, and we will be serving them with notice of default,” Johnson said. “It is in the best interest of this city to terminate this contract.”
In response to de Blasio’s announcement about severing the contracts, Eric Trump, Donald Trump’s son and the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said in a statement to NBC News that the city “has no legal right to end our contracts and if they elect to proceed, they will owe The Trump Organization over $30 million dollars. This is nothing more than political discrimination, an attempt to infringe on the first amendment and we plan to fight vigorously.”
Johnson said that the city is well within its rights to cancel all three contracts.
“The sense of irony is pretty strong here. Last week, they trampled on the Constitution; this week, they're trying to stand on it,” Johnson said in response to the statement. “The First Amendment doesn't protect your ability to incite wrongful, harmful and lethal conduct.”
The contracts for the two ice rinks were set to expire in April. The contract for the golf course ends in 2032.
The Trump Organization rakes in $17 million a year in revenues from the contracts. In turn, the organization pays the city a few million dollars a year in operating fees.
Back in 2015, the City Council asked de Blasio to cancel the contracts after then-candidate Trump launched his presidential campaign calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists.
There was also a resolution introduced at the Council back in 2019 by members like Mark Levine, who is now running for Manhattan Borough President.
“The administration has consistently protested that they felt there was no legal means to cancel the contracts, but that’s not true," Levine told NY1's Juan Manuel Benitez on Tuesday. "These are at-will contracts, they have severability clauses. They can be cancelled with 30 days notice.”
In a tweet Wednesday, Levine applauded the mayor's announcement, saying, "The Trump name will never sully our precious green space again."
BREAKING: New York City moving to sever Trump Org contracts to run 4 businesses in NYC Parks.— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) January 13, 2021
Covers Wollman Ice Rink, Lasker Ice Rink, Central Park Carousel, and Trump Links golf course in the Bronx.
This is a welcome and long (years!) overdue step.
Wollman Rink, one of the most notable projects connected to Trump's name, was reconstructed in just a few months and under budget after nearly a decade of being stalled under city operation in the 1980s.
"That was his first public issue as a sort of urban active person as a civic personality," said Fran Rosenfeld of the Museum of the City of New York. "He was going to do in a couple months with his corporation and his know-how what he said the city couldn't do in years."
The Trump name was removed from most signage at the popular tourist spot, as well as the Lasker Rink in 2019.
A similar effort unfolded on Manhattan's West Side starting in 2016 when residents of several Riverside Boulevard buildings demanded the Trump name be removed from the facades.
Trump initially developed the massive residential property, but ownership later changed and the Trump name was being licensed.
The city is not alone in this new push. Companies and banks all over the world are now trying to end their business relationships with the president.
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