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De Blasio Tees Off Trump at Bronx Golf Course: Homeless Shelter Operator Set to Evict the Ex-President

Donald Trump speaks alongside former Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the opening of the Trump Golf Links in The Bronx, Oct. 16, 2013.
Donald Trump speaks alongside former Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the opening of the Trump Golf Links in The Bronx, Oct. 16, 2013.
Spencer T Tucker/NYC Mayor’s Office

While Donald Trump battles Bill de Blasio over the mayor’s decision to dump the former president as operator of a Bronx golf course, the city is playing through — proposing a new firm to run the Ferry Point links.

A notice published Monday shows a company called Ferry Point Links LLC is set to be awarded a 13-year Parks Department deal to take over the Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole course at the foot of the Bronx-Whitestone bridge.

A firm incorporated under that name in late August, state corporation records indicate — sharing both an executive’s name and address with one of the city’s biggest homeless shelter operators, CORE Services Group.

An attorney for the former president vowed to fight the city — and the proposed new golf course operators — for control of the links, charging Trump is a victim of “political retaliation.”

A spokesperson for the city Department of Parks and Recreation said that CORE will be teaming up with Bobby Jones Links, an Atlanta company that will be “managing the operation of the concession.” CORE Services Group did not respond to requests for comment Monday, and Bobby Jones Links was not immediately reachable.

According to the notice posted in Monday’s City Record, Ferry Point Links, LLC will pay a minimum of $300,000 a year to the city — or a share starting at 7% of the gross proceeds and gradually escalating to 10% by year 13, whichever is higher.

Those terms are slightly more favorable to the operator than those granted to Trump in 2012, in a 20-year deal struck to salvage a troubled project. Trump also committed $10 million to build a clubhouse.

The Trump Golf Links in The Bronx, March 15, 2021.
The Trump Golf Links in The Bronx, March 15, 2021.
John Hanson Pye/Shutterstock

The Parks Department and city Franchise and Concession Review Committee have a hearing scheduled for Oct. 12, with the new concession projected to launch Nov. 15 — the day after the one-term president’s deadline to vacate the course.

‘Criminal Activity’

Following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, de Blasio cited Trump’s role in stirring up a mob to invade the U.S. Capitol as reason to terminate all city contracts held by the then-president’s firm.

The city purged its deals with the Trump Organization, which at the time included two ice rinks, the Central Park carousel and the Bronx golf course.

“Inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government clearly constitutes criminal activity,” de Blasio said at the time. “The City of New York will no longer have anything to do with the Trump Organization.”

While the other deals were about to expire anyway, the golf course was supposed to be Trump’s through 2035, under a deal forged during Mike Bloomberg’s mayoralty. The Trump Organization, which runs high-end links from Florida to Scotland, fought back.

In a lawsuit pending in Manhattan Supreme Court, Trump Organization lawyers argue that de Blasio did not establish grounds to kill the ex-president’s 20-year deal.

In a default notice to the Trump Organization, then-Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said that the then-president’s actions “will cause the Licensed Premises to be associated with a violent insurrection against the federal government” and would repel tournaments from the Trump-branded course.

The Trump Organization is demanding $30 million in damages and a freeze to de Blasio’s termination of the golf course deal.

Ken Caruso, an attorney representing the Trump Organization in the pending suit, said de Blasio is off course.

“The city has no right to award the license to another operator,” said Caruso. “The Trump Organization’s long-term license for this property is legally binding, enforceable, and remains in full force and effect.”

He called the contract cancellation “a mere pretext that Mayor de Blasio used as a cover for his political retaliation.”

And Caruso said Trump would do combat with the new golf course operator, too.

The Trump links in The Bronx.
The Trump links in The Bronx.
Evan El-Amin\Shutterstock

“The city’s position has no legal merit and we will continue to vigorously defend our right to possession and control of the property for the remainder of the 20-year term, against both the city and anyone to whom the city purports to issue a replacement license,” Caruso added.

No-Bid Deal

Jack Brown, the registered agent for Ferry Point Links LLC, has no known history of managing golf courses. He has, however, been a major provider of homeless services under de Blasio, headquartered at the same address on Main Street in DUMBO.

Brown is CEO of CORE Services Group, which has $544 million in current contracts for family and single adult shelters and $804 million since its first city contract in 2014. The group also operates facilities in Washington.

The nonprofit’s filings with the Internal Revenue Service show Brown made $869,000 in 2019 from CORE and related organizations. Brown previously led a halfway house organization, Community First Services, critiqued by defense lawyers as providing inadequate services.

A 2012 New York Times investigation found that Brown left a trail of exaggerations and self-dealing as the chief executive at Community First, out-bidding himself for contracts and fabricating an academic credential. The newspaper also found that, while Community First was contractually obligated to provide inmates with support services and pathways to jobs, clients received little more than three meals a day and a bed.

Brown has defended the record of his organization and at a 2017 community meeting called the Times article “riddled with inaccuracies” and denied claims that there were any problems with its contracts.

Mayor Bill de Blasio at his daily briefing on Jan. 13, 2021, the day he announced cancellation of all Trump Organization city contracts.
Mayor Bill de Blasio at his daily briefing on Jan. 13, 2021, the day he announced cancellation of all Trump Organization city contracts.

CORE Services’ website boasts it is “proud to provide critical services to more than 3,000 individuals every day.”

The city launched its search for a new entity to manage the Ferry Point golf course soon after sending Trump its cancellation notice Jan. 15.

In April, the Parks Department informed concessionaires that it had entered negotiations with an unnamed company to take over the Ferry Point Park golf course, and that competitive bidding was not feasible “due to the existence of a time-sensitive situation where the existing concession has been terminated.”

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