President Donald J Trump. Picture: Chris Kleponis/EPA-EFE/
President Donald J Trump. Picture: Chris Kleponis/EPA-EFE/

New York City to consider ending contracts with Donald Trump that bring his company $17m a year

By The Washington Post Time of article published Jan 12, 2021

Share this article:

David A Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell

New York - New York City said on Monday that it was "reviewing whether legal grounds exist" to terminate its business relationships with President Donald Trump, whose company has contracts to run a carousel, two ice rinks and a golf course in city parks.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said that review was spurred by Trump's actions on Wednesday - when, after encouragement from the president, a pro-Trump mob stormed and ransacked the US Capitol.

"The attacks on our Capitol killed a police officer, left four rioters dead, exposed lawmakers to covid-19 and threatened the constitutional transfer of power. They were a national abomination," said spokeswoman Laura Feyer.

"We're reviewing whether legal grounds exist in light of these new circumstances to terminate concessions with the Trump Organization," Feyer said.

Feyer did not say when the city expected to announce a decision.

The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

The statement from New York was another sign that the fallout from Wednesday's events has spread to Trump's private business - already hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic, and struggling with backlash to Trump's divisive career in politics.

On Monday, one of Trump's banks said it was closing his personal bank accounts, which had about $5.3 million (about R82 million) in them. Signature Bank, based in New York, issued a statement saying this was a reaction to the "displeasure and shock" of bank executives after Wednesday's events.

"To witness a rioter sitting in the presiding chair of the US Senate and our elected representatives being told to seek cover under their seats is appalling and an insult to the Republic," the bank said in a statement, first reported by The New York Times. "We witnessed the President of the United States encouraging the rioters and refraining from calling in the National Guard to protect the Congress in its performance of duty."

Signature Bank also called on Trump to resign. Trump has done business with Signature Bank since at least 2011, according to documents released by the bank, and at one point Ivanka Trump, the president's oldest daughter, was on the bank's board.

President Trump still owns his business, though he says he has given day-to-day leadership to his sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric.

Since Wednesday's mob attack on the Capitol, several of the Trump Organization's business partners have said they are cutting ties with the president's company.

Last week, the e-commerce company Shopify shut down trumpstore.com, a website that the president's company used to sell candles, bath bombs and T-shirts with the Trump name. Shopify's policies prohibit "promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause."

On Sunday, the PGA of America said it was canceling plans to hold one of golf's major tournaments - the PGA Championship - at Trump's Bedminster, NJ, club in 2022. The PGA said it had determined that "conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand."

On Monday, the British golf association that holds the Open Championship - also known as the British Open - said it will not hold that tournament at Trump's historic Turnberry, Scotland, club "for the foreseeable future."

That means that Trump will not capture a tournament he has wanted for years: The New York Times reported that Trump asked the US ambassador to the United Kingdom to lobby for it. (The Trump Organization did not respond to questions about that.)

If New York City does revoke Trump's concessions, that would remove Trump's name from some of his oldest businesses - and one of his newest. Together, the parks concessions brought the Trump Organization about $17 million in revenue, according to Trump's most recent financial disclosures.

One of the oldest is the Wollman Rink in the busy southern end of Central Park, near Trump Tower. In the 1980s, Trump took over a languishing city-run project to rebuild an ice rink in Central Park. He finished it early.

"It was the only thing he did that was praised and approved by everyone," Joyce Matz, a New York preservationist and perennial Trump critic, told The Washington Post in 2015. Matz died in 2017.

Trump still operates that rink, along with another one, the Lasker Rink, at the park's northern end.

One of Trump's newest ventures is the Ferry Point golf course, built on a former landfill near the East River and designed by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus. The course opened in 2015, but has not met the Trump Organization's profit projections: In the year ended in March 2020, the course lost more than $670 000, according to filings with the city.

Even if Trump lost these concessions, the president's name would still be featured prominently in New York. He would still operate Trump Tower, a commercial and residential building in Manhattan, and the Trump International Hotel on Central Park West.

That hotel's most prominent tenant is the high-end restaurant Jean-Georges, which recently signed a contract to stay - albeit with a lower rent, because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the restaurant business.

On Monday, restaurant owner Jean-Georges Vongerichten said he was saddened by the events at the Capitol but had no plans to cut ties with Trump.

"Everything will probably disappear in a few weeks," Vongerichten said of the controversy. Also, he said, "We don't do politics. We only do food."

Share this article:

Related Articles