Following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to rid the city of then-President Donald Trump’s name, but as his effort has progressed, it could end up costing city taxpayers around $30 million.
The New York Post reported Sunday that as de Blasio angled to become “a hero to progressives,” he announced a week after the riot that he was pulling the Trump Organization’s long-running concessions contract to run Central Park’s historic carousel along with the Wollman and Lasker skating rinks in the park, as well as the Trump Ferry Point Golf Course located in the Bronx.
“This president has committed an unlawful act, he has disgraced himself, he will no longer profit from his relationship with New York City,” de Blasio told media outlets at the time.
City officials then began an effort to take away the Central Park contracts from the former president’s company though there were set to expire in the spring, and things quickly began to fall apart for de Blasio, The Post reported.
Taking the contracts away from Trump would have led to the closure of the two skating rinks six weeks early, and that caused an outcry from the public, leading city officials to just let the contracts run out anyway.
“The city picked new rink operators, a joint venture among Newark, NJ-based Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns the New Jersey Devils NHL team, and developers Related Companies and Equinox, in July,” The Post reported. “They promptly raised the rates. A family of four now pays $109 to enter, rent skates and secure a locker rather than $95 under Trump.”
Also, there was no other company running the carousel, which left the ride idle throughout the past summer. City officials signed a five-year contract with Central Amusement International, which operates Luna Park in Coney Island, in late July, but the attraction did not reopen until Oct. 16.
But what may amount to much more than just higher skating fees or lost attractions “is the state court battle over the debacle created by trying to evict Trump from the Bronx golf course,” The Post added.
The former president’s company is claiming in a lawsuit fighting the cancellation that the Trump Organization is due more than $30 million in reimbursements if the ejection stands. And the city may wind up paying the amount because de Blasio, who is set to leave office following the Nov. 2 mayoral race, is so fixated on his anti-Trump tirade, though Comptroller Scott Stringer has complained about the efforts and is asking that the city take a breath and pause its actions.
“I’m just learning of this and have to look at that and find out exactly what this is about,” said Eric Adams, a Democratic mayoral candidate leading in the polls, in an interview with The Post about NYC having to dole out tens of millions via Trump’s lawsuit.
Trump Ferry Point, which opened in 2015 as New York City’s newest golf course, took 14 years to develop. The Trump Organization was handed the project by then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg because the development was lagging. The project reportedly cost $269 million to build and Trump added a 20,00-square-food clubhouse to the property in 2018 that he said cost around $10 million to build.
The city issued a termination notice for the Trump Organization’s Ferry Point contract in February though it still had 13 years before expiring. The city stated the termination was “because the Trump brand is now synonymous with an insurrection against the federal government” and as such could no longer attract top golf tournaments.
However, the Trump Organization’s legal filings noted that tournaments were never promised in the contract, only a “tournament quality course.”
But the city has since reiterated its intent in state Supreme Court filings, telling a judge that if officials cannot terminate the contract “for cause” based on the riot, they would use a standard “at will” clause.
An attorney for the company said that clause features a “highly unusual” termination payment, which was estimated roughly in June to be more than $30 million using a complicated formula contained in the contract.
“They really have spared no expense and they take pride in those properties,” Trump lawyer Kenneth Caruso told The Post regarding the care of the golf course.
The city, however, is disputing the amount.
“I invested many millions of dollars, all cash, in this project in order to get it done, which I did, starting from scratch, in record time,” Trump noted recently in a statement issued from his Save America PAC.
“Now under Mayor De Blasio, he wants to CONFISCATE the project from me for no reason whatsoever and terminate my long-term arrangement with the city.”
Eric Trump, a ranking official within the company, added: New York is being overrun by crime and homelessness, and people are fleeing in record numbers, yet this mayor’s focus is using $30 million of taxpayer money to settle political scores.”
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