In the latest sign of Donald Trump’s plunging stock as a business brand, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is moving ahead with plans to cancel its business contracts with the Trump Organization including the company’s famous Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park.
“New York City doesn’t do business with insurrectionists,” de Blasio tweeted. “We’re taking steps to TERMINATE agreements with the Trump Organization to operate the Central Park Carousel, Wollman and Lasker skating rinks, and the Ferry Point Golf Course” in the Bronx.
While city officials have explored ways to exit the agreements since 2015, de Blasio said in an interview with MSNBC that last Wednesday’s deadly and destructive invasion of the U.S. Capitol left no other option. “The city of New York will no longer have anything to do with the Trump Organization,” he said. He added that he sees the city as standing on “strong legal ground,” should Trump decide to file suit.
The breach of the Capitol followed months of lies about election fraud spread by Trump and his supporters. As Trump faces impeachment proceedings and a potential trial ahead of or after President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, a number of businesses have cut ties with Trump and stopped making contributions to elected officials who backed his false election claims. The PGA said it will no longer hold an upcoming major golf tournament at a Trump-owned club in New Jersey, and organizers of the Open Championship in Britain have taken similar action against a Trump golf course in the UK.
New York and Trump have a long and tangled history, of course, with the Queens-born son of a real estate developer having put his family name on a range of buildings decades before his presidential run. The Central Park attractions are familiar not only to residents but visitors to the city as well, including television industry pros who have trekked to Wollman Rink each spring for Fox’s annual upfronts party. The Trump Organization oversaw the renovation of the rink in the 1980s as Central Park was starting to emerge from a financially strapped, crime-ridden period in the 1970s. After opening in 1950, the rink was used as a concert venue and has been featured as a backdrop in films like Love Story, Carnal Knowledge and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
The mayor has frequently clashed with Trump over the past four years. In the early days of the president’s term, he assailed the costly security measures required to protect the area around Trump Tower. Last summer, after Trump had shifted his main residence to Florida, de Blasio ordered the street on Fifth Avenue in front of the building to be painted with large, yellow letters spelling out “Black Lives Matter.”
Calling the contract move “political discrimination,” a Trump Organization rep said the company will “fight vigorously” and said it will still be owed $30 million from the deals, according to multiple press reports.
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