Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) said Michael Cohen’s plea — and his relationship to the Trump Organization — give the city the legal opening it needs to scuttle its Trump Organization contracts in city parks.
“Revelations in the Michael Cohen plea deal make the case for termination of these contracts stronger than ever, with evidence that the Trump Organization has been deeply entangled in a criminal conspiracy,” Levine said.
And there’s precedent for getting out of such deals, he argued: The city previously nixed a contract for a Marine Park golf course with East Coast Golf, Inc., in 2011 because of the company’s alleged ties to organized crime.
“There was no claim that they were not fulfilling the terms of service in the park — it was because they were involved in illegal activities,” Levine told The News. “And we’re at the same place now with the Trump Organization.”
The Trump Organization currently operates Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink in Central Park, the Central Park Carousel, and the Ferry Point Landing golf course in the Bronx. Various city officials have called for the cancellation of those contracts for years — dating backing to Trump’s campaign and his disparaging comments about Mexicans. But city officials had said they couldn’t legally cancel the deals just because they disagreed with Trump’s speech.
Levine argued the organization’s connections to Cohen offered a “compelling legal rationale for getting out of these contracts.”
The contracts are also hurting the city’s reputation and its bottom line, Levine argued.
“There also are really compelling interests in the city to get out of this relationship because of financial interests, and reputational factors as well,” Levine said. “We have declining usage at Trump-branded facilities, which means that we get less revenue.”
Levine also argued the amount of money the Trump Organization is charging to operate a golf course on city land — city residents pay $154 during the week or $185 on the weekends for 18 holes of golf— is “far beyond what the average Bronx resident can afford.”