A judge has overturned the decision to take control of New York’s Ferry Point golf course away from the Trump Organization, saying the municipality used a flawed decision-making process to take the contract away from the group.
Last Friday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Debra James reversed a decision previously made by the city to terminate the contract for the ties-style course, saying the city had the option to rescind the contract at will, but also highlighting there was the lack of specific contract language to back up the city’s claim.
City officials had said that due to the PGA of America’s decision to remove the 2022 PGA Championship from Trump’s course in nearby Bedminster after the Capitol riot, they believed no golf organization would seek to join the course.
James’ decision spoke against that logic, saying the initial offer included language that the course was “capable of potentially attracting professional tournaments run by the Professional Golfers’ Association (“PGA”) and similar organisations”, but that it had fulfilled this obligation. .
“There is no ambiguity in the requirement of the agreement that the applicant is required to ‘operate a first-class, tournament-quality pay golf course,'” James said. “Read in the context of the Agreement as a whole, it is not open to multiple interpretations.”
The links-style golf course opened in 2014 and debuted at No. 2 for New York on Golfweek’s Best: State-by-State Courses You Can Play list in 2015, behind Bethpage Black. When Ferry Point opened, the city signed a 20-year agreement with the Trump Organization.
As the course opened under the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (on the site of a former New York landfill) in 2014, a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse, designed by architectural firm Hart Howerton, was completed in 2019.
Trump’s group issued an immediate release, thanking the judge for her decision.
“We would like to thank the court for its well-reasoned decision based on law and facts. As we’ve said all along, the City’s efforts to end our long-term license agreement to operate Asset Golf Links at Ferry Point Park was nothing more than a political vendetta,” a Trump Organization spokesperson said. “Former Mayor Bill de Blasio used his position to arm the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York City Legal Department, in an effort to advance his own partisan agenda, to score political points and interfere with free enterprise. This isn’t just a win for The Asset Organization – this is a win for the people of New York City and for the hundreds of our hard-working employees at Ferry Point.
“We are thrilled to continue to operate and manage what has been widely recognized as one of the most magnificent public golf experiences in the country.”
In October 2021, a hearing was held before a vote, and lawyers for the Trump team insisted that course designer Jack Nicklaus had direct control over any decision regarding course management. This, however, was not enough to sway a city panel at the time, as the members endorsed the change. Two panel members voted against the measure, and one insisted the process needed more time to be carefully considered.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier in the year that the city would end contracts with the Trump Organization following the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising, which caused lawmakers to take cover out of fear. for their lives and left five people dead and dozens injured.
Team Trump lawyers said the city will have to pay more than $30 million “termination costs” because the breach of contract claim had no legal basis, according to information from The City, a platform of digital information in New York.
Trump released a statement Oct. 12 lambasting the mayor.
“The course has received rave reviews, is considered one of the top ten open to public facilities in the United States (might even be the best!), is designed for tournament play, and Mayor De Blasio wants to win after all so much work has been done, and so much money has been spent,” Trump said in the statement. “So unfair – this is what happens in communist countries, not in America!”
In June, the Trump Organization’s legal team said the firing was motivated solely by political pressure. The group invested significantly in the project after New York City failed to complete the course, which ranks 77th on Golfweek’s list of the best courses you can play in the United States, according to the national network of Golfweek evaluators.
“After the city wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on previous failed attempts to complete this project, we stepped in and, at the behest of the city (much like Wollman Rink in the 1980), have invested more than $30 million of our own money to bring New York City residents what has been widely recognized as one of the nation’s most magnificent public golf experiences,” said a statement from the Trump Organization.
At the time, Atlanta-based Bobby Jones Links was chosen to take over the property, which meant he would take over day-to-day golf operations, manage on-site instruction programs, and coordinate food and beverage concessions. drinks. But the course had not yet opened under the new management.