A judge has reversed a decision by the city of New York to take control of the Ferry Point golf club from the Trump Organization, claiming that the city utilized a defective decision process to do so.
Justice Debra James of the New York State Supreme Court vacated the city’s decision to terminate the contract for the links-style course last Friday, stating that the city did have the ability to cancel the contract at will, but that there was no precise contractual language to support the city’s claim.
Due to the PGA of America’s decision to cancel the 2022 PGA Championship from Trump’s adjacent Bedminster course during the Capitol violence, city officials felt no golf organization would want to associate with the course.
The first offer did include language that the course be “capable of potentially drawing professional tournaments run by the Professional Golfers’ Association (“PGA”) and comparable organizations,” but James’ ruling concluded that this commitment had been fulfilled.
“There is no ambiguity in the petitioner’s commitment in the Agreement to ‘run a first-class, tournament-quality daily fee golf course.'” James stated his opinion. “It is not capable of numerous meanings when read in the context of the Agreement as a whole.”
The links-style golf course first opened in 2014, and in 2015, it was ranked second in New York on Golfweek’s Best: State-by-State Courses You Can Play list, trailing only Bethpage Black. The city inked a 20-year agreement with the Trump Organization when Ferry Point first opened.
While the course first opened in 2014 beneath the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (on the site of a former New York City landfill), a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse built by Hart Howerton was finished in 2019.
Trump’s group immediately published a statement applauding the court for her decision.
“We appreciate the court’s well-thought-out conclusion based on law and facts.” “As we’ve stated from the start, the City’s efforts to discontinue our long-term license arrangement to run Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park were nothing more than a political vendetta,” a Trump Organization spokeswoman said. “Former Mayor Bill de Blasio exploited his power to weaponize the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York City Law Department, all in the name of advancing his partisan agenda, scoring political points, and interfering with free enterprise.”
This isn’t simply a victory for The Trump Organization; it’s also a victory for the citizens of New York City and the hundreds of our dedicated employees at Ferry Point.
“We are ecstatic that we will be able to continue to operate and maintain what is often regarded as one of the finest public golf experiences in the country.”
A hearing was held in October 2021, ahead of a vote, and Trump’s lawyers maintained that course designer Jack Nicklaus had direct authority over any decision about the course’s operation. However, that wasn’t enough to persuade a city commission at the time, who approved the swap. Two members of the panel voted no, while one said the procedure required more time to be thoroughly scrutinized.
In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurgency, which drove legislators fleeing for their safety and left five people dead and scores injured, Mayor Bill de Blasio stated earlier this year that the city will cancel partnerships with the Trump Organization.
According to The City, a digital news portal in New York City, Trump’s lawyers have argued the city will have to pay a $30 million “termination fee” because the breach of contract claim was without legal merit.
On Oct. 12, Trump issued a statement criticizing the mayor.
“The course has received rave reviews, is considered one of the top ten open to the public facilities in the United States (could even be the best! ), is designed for tournament play, and Mayor De Blasio wants to take it away after all of the hard work and money has been spent,” Trump said in a statement. “How unfair—this is what occurs in communist countries, not in the United States!”
“After the City squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds in previous failed attempts to complete this project, we stepped in and, at the City’s request (much like Wollman Rink in the 1980s), invested over $30 million of our own money to deliver to the people of the City of New York what has been widely recognized as one of the most magnificent public golf experiences anywhere in the country,” the Trump Organization said in a statement.
Bobby Jones Links, based in Atlanta, was chosen to take over the facility at the time, which meant it would be in charge of daily golf operations, as well as conducting on-site education programs and coordinating food and beverage concessions. The course, however, had not yet opened under the new management.