A judge overturned a decision to wrestle control of New York City’s Ferry Point golf course away from the Trump Organization, saying the municipality used a flawed decision process to take the contract away from the group.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Debra James vacated a decision last Friday that was previously made by the city to terminate the contract for the links-style course, saying the city did have the ability to cancel the contract at will, but also pointing out there was an absence of precise contractual language to support the city’s claim.
City officials had said that due to the PGA of America’s decision to pull the 2022 PGA Championship out of Trump’s course in nearby Bedminster after the Capitol riot, they believed no golf organization would look to associate with the course.
James ‘decision ruled against that Logic, saying the initial bid did include language that the course be “capable of potentially attracting professional tournaments Hosted by the Professional Golfers’ Association (“ PGA ”) and similar organizations,” but that it had fulfilled this obligation .
“There is no ambiguity in the obligation in the Agreement that the petitioner is required to ‘operate a first-class, tournament-quality daily fee golf course.’ James said. “When read in the context of the Agreement as a whole, it is not capable of 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, trailing only Bethpage Black. When Ferry Point opened, the city signed a 20-year agreement with the Trump Organization.
While the course opened beneath the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (on the site of a former New York City landfill) in 2014, the 20,000-square-foot clubhouse, designed by the architectural firm Hart Howerton, was completed in 2019.
Trump’s group issued an immediate release, thanking the judge for her ruling.
“We would like to thank the court for its well-reasoned decision based on law and facts. As we have said since the beginning, the City’s efforts to terminate our long-term license agreement to operate Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park were nothing more than a political vendetta, ”said a spokesperson for the Trump Organization. “Former Mayor Bill de Blasio used his position to weaponize the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York City Law Department all in an effort to advance his own partisan agenda, score political points and interface with free enterprise. This is not just a win for The Trump Organization – this is a win for the people of the City of New York and for the hundreds of our hard-working employees at Ferry Point.
“We are thrilled that we will continue to operate and manage what has been widely recognized as one of the most magnificent public golf experiences anywhere in the country.”
In October of 2021, a hearing was held in advance of a vote, and Lawyers from the Trump team insisted course designer Jack Nicklaus had direct oversight on any decision regarding the course’s management. That wasn’t enough to sway the city panel at the time, however, as members approved the switch. Two panel members voted against the measure, and one insisted that the process needed more time to be thoroughly watered.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier in the year that the city would terminate contracts with the Trump Organization in the wake of Jan. 6 Capitol Insurrection, which sent lawmakers running for cover in fear for their lives and left five people dead and dozens injected.
Lawyers for the Trump team have said the city will need to fork over a $ 30 million “termination fee” because the breach of contract assertion had no legal Merit, according to reporting by The City, a digital news platform in New York City.
Trump released a statement on Oct. 12 blasting the mayor.
“The course has received rave reviews, is considered one of the top ten open to 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 work was so successfully done, and so much money was spent, ”Trump said in the statement. “So unfair — this is what happens in Communist Countries, not in America!”
Back in June, the Trump Organization legal team said the termination 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 the Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play in the United States list, as judged by Golfweek’s Nationwide network of raters.
“After the City Wasted hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money in its prior 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, ”said a statement from the Trump Organization.
At the time, Atlanta-based Bobby Jones Links was chosen to take over the property, which meant it would assume daily golf operations, handling instruction programs on-site and coordinating food and beverage concessions. But the course had yet to open under the new management.