When I wrote about the PGA Championship ditching Donald Trump’s New Jersey golf course from their rotation in the majors a couple of days ago, I tossed out a prediction that I sort of hoped wouldn’t come true. I speculated as to how long it would be before liberal groups began pressuring travel agencies and promoters of large events to refuse to offer bookings at Trump’s hotels. Further, a similar movement could force banks and lending institutions to refuse to do business with any Trump-related organizations. One possibility that I didn’t see coming cropped up this morning, though. The City of New York (Trump’s former home) has announced that it is canceling its contracts with Donald Trump for the operation of four popular attractions around Gotham. The contracts are estimated to be worth in excess of $45 million. (NY Post)
City Hall will yank the Trump Organization’s multimillion-dollar contracts to operate four popular attractions in the Big Apple’s public parks, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
Hizzoner accused President Trump of inciting the mob that rioted on Capitol Hill in violation of provisions barring criminal behavior.
“The contracts make very clear that if the company and the leadership of that company is engaged in illegal activity, we have a right to sever the contract,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday morning. “Inciting an insurrection against the United States government clearly constitutes criminal activity.”
The contracts cover the operation of four major attractions. Those are the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, two skating rinks, and the Central Park Carousel. If the city manages to get away with this it will represent a significant hit to the wallet of Trump’s enterprises. But that’s a pretty big “if” according to legal experts contacted by the Post.
The President’s son, Eric Trump, has already come out and said they will be challenging the cancellations in court if the city moves forward. He described the move as “political discrimination” and “another example of Bill de Blasio’s incompetence and disregard for the facts.”
The problems with de Blasio’s plan crop up on multiple fronts. First of all, he says that they have a right to cancel if the contracted company’s leadership is “engaged in illegal activity.” In terms of the January 6th riots, the rioters themselves were clearly engaged in illegal activity. The President is accused of giving a speech. Congress may be able to use a charge of “incitement” to impeach the President (again) but it won’t qualify as criminal illegal activity unless he can be charged and convicted in a court of law.
Even if we ignore all of that, while the attractions are under the general umbrella of Trump Incorporated, those specific contracts are with operations that are run by the President’s sons Don Jr. and Eric. Accusing the sons for the sins of the father hasn’t traditionally held up well in courts of law.
Then there’s the issue of the contracts themselves. If you don’t have specific provisions for early termination baked into the cake (and the “illegal activity” idea is unlikely to hold water), you can quickly find yourself on the losing end of a very expensive court battle. Of course, Bill de Blasio doesn’t need to worry about that because it’s not his money. The taxpayers of the Big Apple will be the ones taking it on the chin again if/when this blows up in his face.
As with most liberal elected officials, Bill de Blasio hates Donald Trump with a burning passion. He clearly sees an opportunity arising from the January 6th riots to try to deliver a financial broadside against the President. But this one may come back to bite him rather quickly.