New York City will nix existing contracts with the Trump Organization

Icy Relations

New York City will nix existing contracts with the Trump Organization

The Trump Organization-operated Wollman Rink at Central Park pictured in 2017. (baaelectronics/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 )

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed this morning that the city will move ahead in the termination of three lucrative concession agreements with the Trump Organization following the deadly, Trump-incited insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In a tweet, Councilmember Mark Levine referred to the decision as a “welcome and long (years!) overdue step.”

Worth an estimated $17 million per the Washington Post, the city’s management contracts with Trump’s real estate empire include a quartet of popular recreational and entertainment located within city-run parks or on city-owned land: Central Park’s Michael Friedsam Memorial Carousel, a 1908 merry-go-round renovated by the Central Park Conservancy and 1990 and operated by the Trump Organization since 2010; Lasker Rink, an ice skating rink and swimming pool facility located in the northern stretch of Central Park that’s been operated by the Trump Organization since 1987; Wollman Rink, an ice skating rink in the southern section of Central Park that’s also been operated by Trump Organization since 1987 and is part of the same contact as Lasker Rink, and Trump Links Golf at Ferry Point, a struggling, Nicklaus Companies-designed golf course that opened in 2015 on a former landfill site in the Bronx.

“The President incited a rebellion against the United States government that killed five people and threatened to derail the constitutional transfer of power,” said de Blasio in a statement issued by his office. “The City of New York will not be associated with those unforgivable acts in any shape, way or form, and we are immediately taking steps to terminate all Trump Organization contracts.”

The effective termination date under each contract with varies by site. The agreement between the city and the Trump Organization at the pair of ice rinks, for example, could be terminated within 30 days of written notice while the arrangement at Trump Links Golf is more complex and severing ties could take several months to take effect, according to the Mayor’s Office.

“Mr. Trump’s incitement of violence at our Capitol was an abomination,” added James E. Johnson, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, in the statement. “In light of last week’s attack on our Capitol and our democracy, we have concluded that it is in the best interests of New Yorkers for the City to commence the process of cancelling these contracts and terminating its business ties with the Trump Organization.”

In a statement provided to ABC News, Eric Trump, who serves as executive vice president of the Trump Organization, called the move “nothing more than political discrimination” and vowed to fight it “vigorously.”

News of the terminated concession agreements in Trump’s hometown follows a string of other major financial blows to the Trump Organization in the wake of the attack on the Capitol, which has resulted in the likely, historically unprecedented second impeachment of Trump by the House of Representatives within the final few days of his presidency. As noted earlier this week, the PGA has canceled its 2022 Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. More recently, commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield announced it would end its longstanding business relationship with the Trump Organization.

On January 12, Frankfurt-headquartered Deutsche Bank, the only remaining major bank that still does business with the conglomerate, also announced it is severing ties with the organization as first reported by The New York Times. The Trump Organization has $340 million in outstanding loans, personally guaranteed by Trump, with Deutsche Bank. At the same time, a large swath of major banks and corporations announced that they would be suspending contributions to the Republican Members of Congress who backed Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which was clearly and fairly won by Trump’s Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, in the face of unsubstantiated and conspiracy theory-driven allegations of widespread fraud.

Outside of New York, there are additional efforts underway to strip the Trump name from the built environment including in Chicago where Alderman Gilbert Villegas has announced plans to introduce an ordinance that would lead to the immediate removal of the massive Trump lettering plastered across the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)-designed Trump International Hotel & Tower. Not surprisingly, the oversized sign was the subject of controversy when it was first installed in 2014 with the building’s architect, Adrian Smith of SOM, making it explicitly clear to (soon-to-be-former) Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin that he had nothing to do with the hyper-conspicuous five-letter signage.

“As time passes, it’ll be like the Hollywood sign,” Trump told Kamin.

As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Villegas’s ordinance states that the permit for the sign on the 98-story condo-hotel tower, which must be renewed annually, “shall be denied, or such permit shall be revoked, if the applicant or any controlling person of the applicant…has been convicted of a crime of treason, sedition or subversive activities.”