Claudia Irizarry Aponte and Katie Honan, THE CITY
This article was originally published on Apr 8 at 4:55pm EDT by THE CITY
The Trump Organization can continue to operate a city-owned Bronx golf course, a judge ruled Friday.
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio terminated a Trump company’s contract for the Ferry Point Park golf course last year citing the former president’s role in stirring up the riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The city attempted to argue that the Trump name, and by association the golf course, was tarnished as a result of the Jan. 6, 2021 attempted insurrection and would not be able to profit or to operate tournaments — which city lawyers claimed was a requirement under the Trump Organization’s 20-year contract with the city Parks Department.
The Trump Organization meanwhile maintained it had a right to stay — or it was entitled to a $30 million contract termination fee if removed.
In her decision, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Debra James agreed that the contract is unambiguous in that the Trump Organization shall operate world-class tournaments — but not that it requires the “petitioner act so as to attract professional golf tournaments.”
She vacated the city’s termination of the contract and sent the matter back to the city Parks Department.
The Trump Organization cheered the decision on Friday.
“We would like to thank the court for its well-reasoned decision based on law and facts,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement, calling the de Blasio administration’s decision last year “nothing more than a political vendetta.”
“Former Mayor Bill de Blasio used his position to weaponize the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York City Law Department all in an effort to advance his own partisan agenda, score political points and interfere with free enterprise,” the Trump rep said.
The city Law Department said the Adams administration is reviewing further legal options. “Anyone holding a city concession is held to a high standard. We are disappointed in the Court’s decision,” said an agency spokesperson.
De Blasio, now a private citizen, did not respond to a message seeking comment but posted a response on Twitter Friday night calling the former president “an ignominious figure in U.S. history.”
“NYC did the right thing by canceling his contract and the city will win this case in the end,” he tweeted.
Spokespersons for Mayor Eric Adams and the city Parks Department deferred to the Law Department.
Bobby Jones Links, the firm that was poised to take over the course concession, did not return requests for comment.
Giving Golf a Bad Name
The city had announced it was terminating all of its contracts with the groups associated with Donald Trump in January 2021, days after the Capitol insurrection.
The city purged its deals with the Trump Organization, which at the time included two ice rinks, the Central Park carousel and the Bronx golf course.
“Inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government clearly constitutes criminal activity,” de Blasio said at the time. “The City of New York will no longer have anything to do with the Trump Organization.”
The Parks Department then moved to sign a deal with a new operator for the golf course last September — revealed by THE CITY to be a joint-venture between an existing course operator and a homeless-shelter provider.
The Parks Department removed that nonprofit, CORE Services Group, following THE CITY’s reporting, leaving its partner, the Atlanta-based Bobby Jones Links, as the sole proposed operator.
Ken Caruso, an attorney for the Trump Organization, told THE CITY in September that the contract cancellation was “a mere pretext that Mayor de Blasio used as a cover for his political retaliation.”
“The city has no right to award the license to another operator,” he said. “The Trump Organization’s long-term license for this property is legally binding, enforceable, and remains in full force and effect.”
In a Nov. 4 injunction, James sided with the Trump Organization, finding that Trump Ferry Point LLC had shown it was likely to prevail on the merits of its case.
The Trump Organization can now continue to operate the links at the foot of the Whitestone Bridge in The Bronx, which it has been doing since the start of the season last month.
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