On Monday, former President Donald Trump’s company filed a lawsuit against the city of New York, attempting to rescind Trump’s contract to manage a city-owned golf course in the Bronx.
In January, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) terminated Trump’s contract to run the Ferry Point golf course, citing Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol. According to court documents, the city claimed that Trump had tarnished his brand name to the point where he could never operate a “first class, tournament quality course” as the city desired.
Trump claimed in the lawsuit that the course had done nothing to violate its contract with the city. Instead, he claimed that de Blasio disliked Trump because of his politics and used the Capitol insurgency as a “pretext” to carry out a political vendetta.
According to Trump’s company, city officials “were biased in that they have animosity toward President Trump, and they prejudged this case.”
The company has petitioned a New York state judge to overturn de Blasio’s decision and allow Trump to continue operating the city-owned course past its scheduled closure date in November. According to Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department, the city believed its actions were legal and that it still intended to find a new operator for the course.
“Mr. Trump’s actions inciting a deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6th resulted in a breach of the Ferry Point contract by eliminating options for hosting championship events,” Paolucci said in a written statement. “We will vehemently oppose the City’s decision to terminate the contract.”
Trump delegated control of his business to his sons and executive Allen Weisselberg while he was president. It’s unclear how much power Trump has reasserted now that he’s left office. Ron Lieberman, an underling, signed the lawsuit on Monday. Alan Garten, Trump’s chief legal officer, issued the company’s official statement.
Prior to January 6, Trump operated three businesses in city parks: a carousel and ice rink in Central Park, as well as the Ferry Point course in the Bronx. All three contracts were signed prior to Trump’s entry into politics. According to financial disclosures Trump filed as president, the three operations generated between $11 million and $17 million in revenue per year.
After January 6, de Blasio announced that he would cancel all three. The real-world impact of de Blasio’s decision was minimal in two of the three cases. Trump’s contracts to operate the ice rinks and carousel were set to expire this year. The Ferry Point contract, on the other hand, was supposed to last until the 2030s. The course on the East River generated a steady stream of revenue — between $6 million and $8 million per year — but profits were much lower. The Trump Organization had just completed an upgrade that included a clubhouse, restaurant, and a large pro shop.
The city said Trump had breached his obligation to run a “tournament-quality course” after his actions on Jan. 6 — including telling supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn an election he had “won in a landslide” — prompted the PGA Championship and the British Open golf tournaments to cancel events at Trump clubs.
Trump is disputing that finding, claiming that the tournament-quality standard was intended to describe the course itself rather than his brand name. Trump’s lawsuit includes testimonials from several pro golfers and golf magazines praising the course as a place to play in response to the city’s allegations.
In the lawsuit, Trump admits that the city has the right to terminate the contract “at will” without proving that he breached it. However, the city would incur significant costs as a result of this option. The lawsuit claims that if the city wants to evict Trump in this manner, it will owe his company $30 million to compensate it for course improvements.