NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio made waves Wednesday morning when he announced New York City would sever four contracts with the Trump Organization. Three, it turns out, were already set to expire in April.
De Blasio, a Democrat, heralded the move on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and then during a press conference later in the day, saying he made the decision because President Donald Trump incited a mob to attack Congress during the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election win. The mayor said criminal activity was legal grounds for ending contracts with the Trump Organization, which manages a golf course in the Bronx, two ice skating rinks and the carousel at Central Park.
“In light of this criminal act, the City of New York has determined that it is within our power to terminate all contracts with the Trump Organization,” de Blasio said during the press conference. “So, goodbye to the Trump Organization, we are not doing any business with you.”
But for the contracts at the Central Park carousel and the Wollman and Lasker skating rinks, the termination comes only a few months before the deals were set to expire.
The city had a $2.5 million, 10-year contract for the carousel, which expires on April 9, according to the document reviewed by POLITICO. The contract between the city and the Trump Organization for the two skating rinks it has run since 2001 was set to expire on April 30.
The Central Park Conservancy, which oversees the facilities, applauded the city’s move.
“The Central Park Conservancy fully supports the City’s decision to revoke the current rinks and Carousel concession contracts in the Park,” said spokesperson Mary Caraccioli. “As the stewards of the Park, we believe all Park concessions must first and foremost serve the needs of the Park-going public.”
The city will send out contract termination notifications this week, said Nicholas Paolucci, spokesperson for the legal department.
Termination of the carousel contract will be effective 25 days after the notice is delivered, and the rinks agreement terminates after 30 days of written notice, according to City Hall.
The city is likely to have a bigger legal fight over the $6.15 million, 20-year contract with the Trump Organization to manage the 18-hole golf course in the Bronx, which is set to expire on April 30, 2032.
City Corporation Counsel James Johnson said Wednesday the contracts include “at-will provisions” that give the de Blasio administration grounds to move forward.
“The evidence is clear that he invited criminal conduct,” Johnson said. “We don’t have to wait for standard of proof that you would require at a criminal trial.”
In a statement, City Hall noted that the termination process for the golf course is more detailed and will take a number of months. When asked whether the city could find a new vendor to replace Trump or would be required to turn the golf course into another facility to do so, the legal department demurred, saying it would not be “parsing this out further or getting into legal strategy.”
It’s not the first time de Blasio tried to sever ties with the Trump Organization. After the president referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “killers” in 2015, de Blasio unsuccessfully tried to prematurely terminate the contracts with the Trump Organization.
The Trump Organization did not return POLITICO’s request for comment, but told NBC News that the de Blasio administration is disregarding 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 dollars,” Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said in a statement.
The four contracts cost the city roughly $17 million each year.
“This is nothing more than political discrimination, an attempt to infringe on the first amendment and we plan to fight vigorously,” Eric Trump said.