Dump Trump? Kicking him off the New York golf course might not be easy

NEW YORK (AP) – Donald Trump has a rich history of fighting back when he’s down and making others pay, and that’s exactly how he intends to deal with New York City over his plans to fire his business of running a golf course in a windswept town. the Bronx.

The sharp shot was part of the backlash against Trump’s businesses for his role in the mob turmoil that attacked the Capitol on Jan.6. But experts who examined the city’s 566-page contract with the former president say it has left the Cape. maybe not that easy.

Trump’s son Eric sees the fight as nothing less than a stance against “canceling culture,” demanding a payment of more than $ 30 million from the city to exit the deal in what could turn into a potentially costly legal battle that dragged on for years.

“They can’t kick him out that easily,” said John Ray, an attorney experienced in public contract disputes, who noted that the Bronx deal gave the notorious Trump plenty of leeway to protest. “It protects his rights to stay there and run the place.”

Geoffrey Croft, chairman of the NYC Park Advocates watchdog, predicts, “Taxpayers are going to screw it up.”

In response to questions from The Associated Press, the city referred to legal documents insisting that Trump’s actions leading up to the riot caused a “ outright and irrefutable ” breach of the contract and that the latter The Trump organization’s day to take the course would be November 14.

Area landscaper and sometimes Trump golfer Sean DeBartolo, who often walks past the giant stone “TRUMP LINKS” sign, says it could offer a temporary solution: fill those letters with sod and wait for them. minds grow cold.

“In the worst case, it will only cost a few thousand dollars,” says the owner of DeBartolo Landscaping in nearby New Rochelle. “It would be three guys and it would be done in one day.”

The Trump organization was shaken after the Capitol Riots, with the PGA of America canceling a tournament in one of its New Jersey courts, banks refusing to lend to it and brokers refusing to help find companies to occupy retail and office space in its buildings. The successes come as prosecutors review his tax returns and large debts loom.

But Trump likes a good fight. And anyone who doubts he can’t come out victorious when he looks stranded should talk to investors and shareholders about the junk bond at his casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in leading them to bankruptcy several times from the start. 1990 and yet managed to pull out around $ 80 million for himself.

In 2008, Trump defaulted on a giant Deutsche Bank loan for his Chicago skyscraper, but then sued the bank for “predatory loan” and forced it to write off much of that loan and put it back. over $ 300 million in a series of new loans.

And after being barred from building dozens of homes on golf courses in New York’s Westchester County and outside Los Angeles, Trump managed to win more than $ 40 million in tax breaks for having agreed not to develop the properties despite being worth a fraction. The New York attorney general is investigating whether Trump illegally manipulated values ​​to gain breaks.

The city isn’t the only Trump partner who could be forced to pay.

Real estate giant Vornado wants to sell two office buildings it owns with Trump – one in New York City, another in San Francisco – but finds itself on the hunt for potential buyers who didn’t want to be seen selling. ‘enrich the ex-president who refused an agreement. A solution Vornado has considered: buying Trump out of his stake, according to the Wall Street Journal, offering the weaker of the two partners a potential injection of more than $ 700 million as he faces a series of deadlines to repay his debt over the next. a few years.

The PGA of America can also struggle to extricate itself from Trump. When the group said it was pulling a tournament from its Bedminster, New Jersey golf course, the Trump organization warned it was “in breach of a binding contract.” The PGA of America did not respond to requests for comment.

“Nothing is more satisfying than winning when everyone said he was lost because he could turn to everyone and declare his magical abilities,” says Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio . “And, you know, it makes other people stupid, which he likes.”

When the mayor of New York announced he was putting Trump off course, he cited Trump’s “criminal action” in inciting rioters on Capitol Hill, meaning he could fire him “for cause” and not not pay him a dime.

“Inciting an insurgency against the United States government is clearly criminal activity,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in January when he announced he would be breaking Trump’s 20-year contract for the course, as well as separate contracts to run two ice rinks and a carousel in Central Park. “The lawyers examined it and it was as clear as a bell that justified the breach of these contracts.”

The city also cites the cancellation of the PGA tournament, saying Trump can no longer claim he can attract prestigious tournaments to the Bronx course, as the contract requires.

But the contract makes no mention of “criminal action,” and it’s unclear whether Trump’s incitement to his supporters before they storm Capitol Hill constitutes one. The contract also does not specifically state that Trump is required to attract tournaments, but appears to only require him to maintain a course that is “first class, tournament quality.”

The city responded that the Trump organization was “too restrictive” in its interpretation of those four words, saying it only had to show that Trump was unable to attract tournaments for whatever reason.

Eric Trump, who heads the company’s golf business, declined to comment for this story. But earlier this year, he sent the PA a statement saying the city’s decision was “political discrimination” and that it would cost taxpayers at least $ 30 million for the money it had invested. in place, although this number may be inflated. The city bore the cost of building the course, not Trump, forcing him to spend a minimum of $ 10 million on a new clubhouse.

The Jack Nicklaus-designed course, built on a former landfill, features native grasses, rolling hills and spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline and close to the Whitestone Bridge. Anyone can play, but it costs $ 154 on weekdays for residents. The course made cash profits of nearly $ 700,000 in the year until March 2020 before the pandemic forced it to temporarily shut down.

A half-dozen golfers on the course earlier this month said all the city has to pay to opt out of the deal is too much.

“A waste of taxpayer money,” Uri Edell said on the sixth hole as his partner drove around. “I don’t care what name is on it.”

Landscape designer DeBartolo completely agrees.

“Why not take that $ 30 million and help some people on the streets,” he says. “This culture of cancellation is a bit carried away, if you ask me.”

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