Additional reporting by Katie Honan
More than a year after City Hall attempted to cancel Donald Trump by revoking contracts in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his family business still runs a high-end golf course in a Bronx public park and is readying to open it for the spring season.
While Manhattan State Supreme Court Judge Debra James weighs Trump Ferry Point’s lawsuit claiming that it has a right to stay at the 18-hole links near the Whitestone Bridge — and that it’s entitled to a $30 million cancellation fee if removed — the company is readying for business as usual.
On Monday morning, a person who answered the number for The Waterfront, Trump Ferry Point’s restaurant, said that it is scheduled to reopen on March 11, and the golf course a week later.
A Trump Ferry Point manager who spoke with THE CITY later offered a slightly different message: “Everything’s going to reopen at the same time,” he said, without identifying himself, adding that he “can’t comment” on when that would be.
Judge James still has not made a decision in the case since hearing arguments in November from Trump’s lawyer’s and the city’s, leaving a new Atlanta-based operator, Bobby Jones Links, in limbo ahead of its anticipated April 1 opening.
A city lawyer wrote the judge on Feb. 17, asking for an update, but has received no response and no ruling. If the court decides against Trump, he wrote, “the new approved Licensee will need to access the Golf Course and facilities soon to ensure a successful reopening of the Golf Course for the Spring golf season.”
Whitney Crouse, a founding partner at Bobby Jones Links, told THE CITY in an email over the weekend that the company had “not heard from the court, but standby to start whenever the City is ready.”
He added: “Yes, the season starts to ramp up in a few weeks. However, whenever the court/City green lights Bobby Jones Links, we can make the transition and have been prepared to do so since November 15” — the start date of the contract and the day after Trump was supposed to vacate.
Among the to-do tasks outlined in its agreement with the Parks Department: “Remove ‘Trump Links’ signage and replace landscape area.”
A Law Department spokesperson confirmed on Friday that it had not received a response from the judge to the Feb. 17 letter. “We are expecting a ruling from the court soon,” the spokesperson added. Mayor Eric Adams has not weighed in on the golf course dispute initiated by his predecessor.
The Trump Organization’s golf case before the city isn’t the only bit of unfinished business with New York officials.
Last week, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled that State Attorney General Letitia James can question two of Trump’s adult children, Ivanka and Donald Jr., under oath as part of its ongoing investigation into the former president’s business dealings.
And an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is ongoing, though in limbo after DA Alvin Bragg opted not to continue bringing evidence to a grand jury, prompting two prosecutors to resign.
Meanwhile, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol is continuing an investigation and subpoenaing witnesses, most recently issuing a subpoena to Kimberly Guilfoyle, who helped organize the rally at which Trump spoke.
Ferry Point Links was one of several Trump Organization city deals former Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the Department of Parks and Recreation would revoke last year, in response to Trump encouraging the Jan. 6 insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to halt the election of President Joe Biden.
Two Central Park ice rinks and a carousel whose contracts had already been set to expire anyway have since switched to new operators. That left the Ferry Point Links contract, scheduled to run through 2035.
Last Feb. 10, then Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver informed Trump and his organization that their license to run the Ferry Point Links would be terminated in 10 days because “the Trump brand is now synonymous with an insurrection against the federal government” — repelling golf tournaments Trump was supposed to lure to the Bronx course.
Ken Caruso, an attorney for the Trump Organization, told THE CITY in September that the contract cancellation was “a mere pretext that Mayor de Blasio used as a cover for his political retaliation.”
“The city has no right to award the license to another operator,” he said. “The Trump Organization’s long-term license for this property is legally binding, enforceable, and remains in full force and effect.”
THE CITY broke news last September of the Parks Department’s unusual choice of a concessionaire to replace Trump: a homeless shelter operator under scrutiny for steering subcontracts to for-profit subsidiaries. That company, CORE Services Group, promptly withdrew from the pending deal.
That left Core Services’ partner, Bobby Jones Links, to take over the remainder of the 13 years left in Trump’s contract.
In her Nov. 4 injunction, James sided with the Trump Organization, finding that Trump Ferry Point LLC had shown it is likely to prevail on the merits of its case.