Sept. 8, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Two Queens council members have called on the Parks Dept. to nix the Trump Organization’s license to operate a golf course in the Bronx – and to cancel a Saudi-backed women’s international golf tournament at the venue next month.
Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Councilmember Shekar Krishnan say that the license – which permits the Trump Organization to run the city-owned course known as Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point — should be terminated because of the group’s “consistent and documented pattern of criminal behavior.”
The scrapping of the license would also result in the cancellation of the Aramco Team Series women’s professional golf tournament at the venue in October. Adams and Krishnan have taken issue with the competition because of its ties to the Saudi Arabian government.
The lawmakers penned a letter to Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue Wednesday urging her to scrap the agreement citing reasons including last month’s guilty plea by Allen Weisselberg, the former Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization, to 15 felony charges and for his evasion of $350,000 in taxes over 15 years. Weisselberg was charged with conspiring with the Trump Organization in the scheme.
Weisselberg, according to the lawmakers, is also listed as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Trump Ferry Point LLC, which operates the golf course under the Trump Organization. They argue that Weisselberg’s crimes are a violation of the city’s license agreement with Trump Ferry Point LLC, which requires its employees to comply with all federal, state, and local laws.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty – after initially denying the charges — as part of a plea deal where he agreed to testify against The Trump Organization in a criminal case later this year.
Adams and Krishnan — who is chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation — also flagged that upcoming criminal case, which has been brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, as another reason to terminate the contract.
They argue that there are also serious questions about Weisselberg and the Trump Organization’s potential misuse of the course for private benefit – although they did not specify the details in the letter.
The Queens lawmakers wrote that former President Donald Trump’s myriad of current legal troubles – such as his alleged mishandling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida and pending lawsuits pertaining to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol in Washington – were further reasons for the Parks Dept. to ditch the agreement.
Trump is president of Trump Ferry Point LLC and the guarantor of the license agreement, according to the lawmakers.
“The cloud of legal investigations of the most serious nature surrounding Trump impedes his capacity to serve as guarantor as required by the terms of this license,” the letter reads.
“The executive officers of Trump Ferry Point LLC are either convicted of criminal charges or implicated in myriad, ongoing civil and criminal legal actions.”
They asked Donoghue to cancel the agreement, writing that the Park’s Commissioner has the absolute discretion to do so at any time after providing 25 days written notice. The City Council does not have the authority to revoke the license.
“By the upcoming hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Parks & Recreation on Sept. 15, we urge you to terminate their [Trump Ferry Point LLC’s] license agreement and bring this matter to a close,” the letter reads.
“Public parkland should not be in the hands of Donald Trump or the Trump Organization.”
It is not the first time that city lawmakers have attempted to terminate the company’s license.
Former mayor Bill de Blasio moved to end the company’s contract in February 2021 following the Jan. 6 riot, but a judge ruled in April that the Trump Organization could continue to operate the golf course and found that the city had wrongly terminated the contract.
The Trump Organization had argued the city’s move to cancel the contract had no legitimate legal basis and was politically motivated. The judge did not weigh in on the political arguments. The Queens Post reached out to the Trump Organization for a response to the latest effort to oust the company from the course but has yet to receive a response.
In the Sept. 7 letter, Adams and Krishnan also voiced their concerns about the Aramco Team Series golf tournament, writing that it is an affront to the values of New York City. Fifteen of the alleged 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens and Saudi Arabian government employees have long been suspected of aiding the hijackers.
“Scheduled for October 13-15, just weeks after the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, this Saudi-backed tournament does harm to the families of 9/11 victims and offends the public memory of that horrific day,” the letter reads.
Mayor Eric Adams, who was cc’d in the letter, released a statement last week calling for the tournament to be scrapped.
“It is outrageous that the Trump Organization agreed to host a tournament with this organization while knowing how much pain it would cause New Yorkers,” Adams said.