New York City is taking steps to sever its contracts with the Trump Organization in the wake of a deadly riot and invasion of the U.S. Capitol last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Speaking on MSNBC Wednesday morning, Mayor de Blasio said that the city has the right to cancel contracts with organizations should its members engage in criminal activity.
"Inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government clearly constitutes criminal activity," de Blasio said, referring to a speech President Donald Trump delivered during a rally with his supporters immediately preceding the Capitol attack.
The president, who has become a reviled figure in his liberal-leaning hometown, is now facing the prospect of a second impeachment a week before his term ends. A vote by the House of Representatives is expected to take place Wednesday.
The Trump Organization currently operates two skating rinks—Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink—and a carousel in Central Park, in addition to the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx. The mayor said the value of those contracts added up to roughly $17 million a year.
The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in a statement provided to the Associated Press and other outlets, a spokesperson for the company, said they would contest the city's actions.
“The City of New York has no legal right to end our contracts and if they elect to proceed, they will owe The Trump Organization over $30 million dollars,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “This is nothing more than political discrimination, an attempt to infringe on the First Amendment and we plan to fight vigorously.”
Mayor de Blasio said he anticipated a legal challenge from the Trump Organization but maintained the city was "on strong legal ground."
De Blasio first raised the prospect of ending the city's relationship with the Trump Organization on Tuesday, saying that the Law Department was looking into the matter. On Wednesday, de Blasio cited as precedent the PGA's recent decision to cancel the 2022 PGA Championship at a Trump golf course. Under the terms of the city's contract, the Bronx golf course would attract major championship events.
Since he was elected, several Trump-branded condo buildings as well as a hotel have sought to distance themselves from him by removing the Trump name. In 2019, the Trump Organization removed its name from the Wollman and Lasker rinks. It has operated the two rinks since the 1980s.
This is also not the first time that city officials have sought to end its relationship with Trump as criminal and ethical accusations against him and his associates have grown.
"The Trump name will never sully our precious green space again," tweeted Manhattan City Councilmember Mark Levine.
The Central Park Carousel is currently closed. In a press statement, the mayor's office said that termination for both the carousel and the two skating rinks will be effective 25 to 30 days after a formal notice is delivered.
"The process for terminating the Ferry Point Golf Course is more detailed and is expected to take a number of months," the statement added.
But as a New York Times story pointed out, the contracts for the carousel and the rinks end in April, meaning that the city could simply let them expire.
The contract for the golf course, however, runs until April 2032.