Mayor de Blasio says the president’s incitement of a riot is exactly the kind of criminal activity that allows New York City to terminate contracts with the Trump Organization.
MANHATTAN (CN) — Compounding dumps by Twitter and the PGA in the fallout from last week’s insurrectionist assault on the Capitol, New York City will sever all city contracts with Donald Trump’s companies, Mayor Bill be Blasio announced Wednesday.
New York City is allowed to terminate contracts if a company or its leadership engaged in criminal activity, and “it’s just clear as a bell,” de Blasio told MSNBC this morning, that Trump’s incitement of extremist supporters to attack the Capitol building during the Electoral College vote amounts to such criminal activity.
“Our legal team has done an assessment, and the contracts make very clear if a company and the leadership of that company is engaged in criminal activity, we have a right to sever the contract,” the Democratic mayor said.
The Trump Organization has long taken in $17 million a year to run two public ice skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park, as well as the Ferry Point public golf course in the Bronx.
“Inciting an insurrection against the United States government clearly constitutes criminal activity, so the city of New York will longer have anything to do with the Trump Organization,” said de Blasio.
A Trump Organization spokesperson called the announcement on Wednesday “yet another example of Mayor de Blasio’s blatant disregard for the facts.”
“The city of New York has no legal right to end our contracts and if they elect to proceed, they will owe The Trump Organization over $30 million,” the spokesperson said.
“This is nothing more than political discrimination, an attempt to infringe on the First Amendment and we plan to fight vigorously,” Trump’s rep added.
New York City notes that the carousel in Central Park is currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and termination of its contract with Trump will be effective 25 days after the city’s termination notice is delivered.
The contracts for the Wollman and Lasker skating rinks will terminate after 30 days written notice.
Trump had been 39 when he publicly hectored New York City Mayor Ed Koch with letters in 1986 to award him the contract to renovate the Wollman Rink, which had closed in 1980 after falling into disrepair the previous decade.
In an interview with The New York Times that year, Trump quipped about his habit of fixing the Trump name onto buildings. “I don’t want my name attached to losers,” he said. “So far the Wollman Rink has been one of the great losers. I’ll make it a winner,” Trump remarked, using the same vocabulary of “winners” and “losers” that peppered his term as U.S. president.
Thirty-five years later, the Wollman skating rink is managed by Barry Weisselberg, the son of Allen Weisselberg, the longtime Trump family accountant and Trump Organization chief financial officer.
Trump’s contract for the Ferry Point Golf Course calls for a championship-level golf course that would attract major championship events.
De Blasio said he took his cue here from the Professional Golf Association’s decision on Sunday to pull out of holding the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump’s New Jersey golf course.
“The PGA made a decision that they were not going to have golf tournaments, major tournaments, at Trump golf courses,” he said. “Our contract with the Trump Organization says they have to host major tournaments. They’re not going to be able to do that anymore, obviously, because the PGA has said this is unacceptable.”
As the Ferry Point contract with Trump is more detailed than the other three agreements, the city said its unraveling is expected to take several months.
James E. Johnson, New York City’s corporation counsel, called Trump’s incitement of extremist supporters at the Capitol last Wednesday “an abomination”
“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,” Johnson said in a statement Wednesday.
Twitter permanently banned Trump from it platform on Friday, citing “the risk of further incitement and violence” after he posted disinformation alleging the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Biden beat Trump in the popular election this past November with more than 81 million votes, a more than 7 million vote margin to Trump’s, and beat him soundly in the Electoral College, 306-232.
Trump refused Tuesday to take responsibility for inciting the attack on the Capitol and defended the remarks he made at a rally just before the deadly insurrection.