The Trump Organization sued New York City on Monday over the recent decision to cancel a contract for a Bronx golf course that was previously managed by the former president’s family business.
The 18-page original petition was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York–a state court of first instance located in Manhattan–on behalf of Trump Ferry Point LLC by attorney Kenneth A. Caruso. The lawsuit names the Big Apple, the Parks and Recreation Department and Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver as defendants.
New York City’s outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced the abrupt cancellation of the 20-year contract, which was signed in 2012, back in January following the pro-Trump attack on the U.S. Capitol Complex by a mob of angry political conservatives and Republicans.
“Inciting an insurrection against the United States government clearly constitutes criminal activity,” he said. “The lawyers looked at it and it was just as clear as a bell that’s grounds for severing these contracts.”
The Trump family promised retribution in the form of a costly lawsuit. Scion and managing executive of the Trump Organization Eric Trump cast the coming fight as a battle against “cancel culture” itself. By availing themselves of the legal process, the threat came to fruition.
“The history of Ferry Point Park is long and harrowing,” the filing begins in sweeping fashion. “For nearly half a century, it was an active landfill, rife with environmental contamination and safety hazards. The City’s attempts to develop Ferry Point Park were futile and costly.”
The lawsuit casts the Trump Organization as the lone entity that was able to make the golf course project work–detailing a years-long process by Manhattan’s elites to find a suitable way (and suitor) to turn the former toxic waste dump into a pristine and “premier” set of links for the predominantly white and upper middle class sport.
“As part of its proposal, the Trump Organization offered to invest a substantial amount of its own funds in capital improvements, including the construction of a first class, state-of-the-art clubhouse,” the lawsuit notes. “No other bidder – including the Tournament Players Club – was willing to make such a huge commitment, not only to complete the Golf Course, but also to construct a clubhouse and related facilities, all using its own capital. After a competitive proposal process, Parks selected the Trump Organization.”
The filing goes on to detail those capital improvements:
Using its own funds, [the Trump Organization] did not merely complete the Golf Course and construct an award-winning Clubhouse, golf cart storage facility and related facilities on the Licensed Premises. At a time when no one else would, [the Trump Organization] paid for every single aspect of the completion of the Golf Course and the construction of the capital improvements – from the laying of the Clubhouse’s foundation, to the marble and faucets in the restrooms; from the windows and doors, to the roof and spire; from the installation of a gas pipe to bring sufficient gas service to the Clubhouse; to the ovens and stoves in the kitchen; from the carpets and hardwood floors, to the tables and chairs that rest on them; from the fleet of golf carts, to the golf tees and ball markers. And, to this day, [the Trump Organization] continues to pay for every single cost and expense required to maintain the standards of this world class facility – including the salaries and benefits of its more than 200 employees.
Noting the terms of the license agreement, the Trump Organization says that New York City is only allowed to cancel the contract “for-cause” or “at-will” and that in the latter case, the city previously agreed to pay “a Termination Payment equal to the sum of, among other things, capital improvements costs and grow-in costs expended.”
“Here, the Termination Payment would approximate $30 million,” the lawsuit claims–echoing a price tag cited months ago by Eric Trump.
New York City, for their part, argued in their official termination notice that the Trump Organization breached the material terms of the contract because their brand is now “tarnished” and can no longer operate a “first class, tournament quality daily fee golf course” that is “capable of attracting professional, tournament-quality events.”
The lawsuit says that justification was little more than a pretext; an attempt to hide elected officials’ political reasons for ending the agreement.
The filing notes:
On and after January 7, 2021, the Mayor denounced President Trump in the most inflammatory terms (“racist,” “Nazi,” “fascist,” “criminal,” “treason,” “sedition,” “white supremacist,” “white nationalist,” “delusional”). The Mayor characterized the Trump Organization as “an organization led by a criminal;” “mafia[;]” “[J]ust another organized crime organization, from my point of view.” He incited others to terminate business with Trump-related entities: “I hope every business that looks at this comes to the same conclusion.”
“Petitioner did not breach the implied obligation of good faith and fair dealing,” the lawsuit goes on to argue. “The City did breach the implied obligation of good faith and fair dealing in that the City’s claim of breach is pretextual. More specifically, Mayor de Blasio had a pre-existing, politically-based predisposition to terminate Trump-related contracts, and the City used the events of January 6, 2021 as a pretext to do so.”
In a Monday statement, the city’s law department said “the actions of Mr. Trump to incite a deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6th caused a breach of the Ferry Point contract by eliminating options for hosting championship events and we will vigorously defend the City’s decision to terminate the contract.”
“Donald Trump directly incited a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” mayoral spokesperson Bill Neidhardt added via Twitter. “You do that, and you lose the privilege of doing business with the City of New York. It’s as simple as that.”
Anti-Trump pundits took the filing in stride.
“If this suit survives a motion to dismiss, NYC can take Trump’s deposition and ask him questions under oath about what happened on January 6,” Former George W. Bush White House ethics attorney and law professor Richard Painter tweeted. “Looking forward to it.”
The lawsuit currently contains 17 exhibits; the two causes of action are annulment of determination of breach of contract and violation of due process.
Read the full filing below:
[image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images]
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