Council Parks Chair Krishnan, Speaker Adams urge mayor to void Trump Org golf course contract

Trump, Council
City Council Member Shekar Krishnan holds press conference on canceling contract with The Trump Organization, which runs a Bronx golf course. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022.
Photo by Ethan Stark-Miller

City Council parks committee chair Shekar Krishnan and Speaker Adrienne Adams called on Mayor Eric Adams’ administration Thursday to terminate its contract with former President Donald Trump’s business for a public golf course in the Bronx’s Ferry Point Park ahead of a Saudi Arabian government-backed tournament to be held there next month.

Krishnan and Speaker Adams gathered with Council Members Majorie Velazquez (D-Bronx), whose district includes Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, and Linda Lee (D-Queens) on the City Hall steps to make the plea before holding an oversight hearing on the matter with members of The Trump Organization.

They were also joined by members of 9/11 Justice, an advocacy group for survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World War Center. The group views the tournament as offensive given the Saudi Arabian government’s significant role in 9/11 attacks.

Krishnan said the parks department’s license with The Trump Organization gives parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue “sole discretion” to kick the organization out of Ferry Point.

“The parks license gives the commissioner sole and complete discretion to immediately terminate the license that Donald Trump and his organization hold on 25 days notice, which means if it is done by this Saturday, Sept. 17, it would cancel the offensive Saudi-backed golf tournament that Donald Trump is hosting – with the city approval – next month,” Krishnan said. “That is so offensive to the families of victims of 911 who are here with us today. It’s so offensive to the public memory of that tragic day.”

Krishnan and Speaker Adams first called on the mayor and Donoghue to void the city’s contract with The Trump Organization in a letter sent to both last week, which seemed to fall on deaf ears. They argue the city has legal standing to end the contract in light of Allen Weisselberg, The Trump Organization’s CFO, pleading guilty to federal fraud charges last month.

Strengthening the city’s position even further, Krishnan said, are several lawsuits and investigations both Trump and the organization are currently facing at the local, state and federal levels.

“His plea alone, given the serious criminal conduct at the Trump Organization, gives substantial reasons to immediately terminate this license at will by the parks commission,” Krishnan said. “On top of that, the swirl of civil, criminal, local, state and federal investigations surrounding Donald Trump [and] the fact that The Trump Organization, following the plea of Allen Weisselberg, is set to go to trial in October with the Manhattan District Attorney, gives further reason to immediately terminate this license.”

The Adams administration has argued the contract gives it “no legal basis” to prevent the tournament and ending the license altogether would cost the city $30 million. In a published report from The New York Times last week, Adams’ spokesperson Maxwell Young told the paper that while the administration opposes the tournament, there’s nothing they can do to stop it from happening.

“It is outrageous that the Trump Organization agreed to host this tournament while knowing how much pain it would cause New Yorkers, and it is frustrating that the contract we inherited from previous administrations affords absolutely no legal basis to prevent it,” Young said.

Representatives from Adams’ administration and the parks department were no shows at Thursday’s hearing, Krishnan wrote on Twitter. In a retweet, Young defended the administration’s absence, saying “you called this hearing on 48 hours notice.”

“Our legal team advised attending might harm us in future litigation, which we shared with you,” Young wrote. “We submitted written testimony which reminded you [that] your suggestion could cause the city to pay millions to the Trump Org.”

At the news conference before the hearing, Speaker Adams noted that the city canceled contracts with The Trump Organization for two ice skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park last year.

“I must tell you that as a member of the last session’s Committee on Parks, we handled that proposal very well and did take care of those cancellations,” the speaker said. “The city now should also do the same with a contract at Ferry Point Park.”