A tournament linked to Saudi Arabia pushes to cancel Trump’s golf contract in New York

A view of the Manhattan skyline from Trump Golf Links at Fairy Point, my $127 million city course, New York.

NEW YORK – It looked like the kind of event New York City Mayor Eric Adams would want to boost the economy: an elite international golf tournament that would attract visitors and their wallets.

But because the tournament has ties to the Saudi government and will take place at a stadium owned by the city and operated by the family business of former President Donald Trump, it has come under widespread criticism, particularly from relatives of the victims of the September. 11 terrorist attacks. .

Adams, whose management allowed the tournament to go ahead, now faces pressure from the city council to reconsider its stance.

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Adrian Adams, the city council president, and Shekhar Krishnan, the councilman who is the Parks and Recreation Commission, sent a letter Wednesday night to Adams and Sue Donoghue, the parks commissioner, urging them to immediately cancel the city’s contract with Trump. Organization to run the course at Fairy Point in the Bronx and cancel the tournament.

The letter says the city has new reasons to end the relationship after Allen H. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges last month. The city’s agreement with the company requires its employees to comply with all federal, state and local laws.

“Public parks should not be in the hands of Donald Trump or the Trump Organization,” the letter reads.

The letter also claims that “the Saudi-backed heroism harms the families of the victims of 9/11 and offends the public memory of that terrible day.”

Krishnan said in an interview that the city council, which does not have the authority to cancel the contract, could hold a hearing next week to consider it. He said he had spoken to the families of the victims about their concerns.

“They agree with us about the urgency of the situation,” he said.

Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said in a statement Thursday night that the company worked with the city to approve the event.

“We are very proud to welcome the best golfers in the world to Trump Ferry Point,” Trump said in a statement. “Many thanks to the City of New York and the Parks Department for their support and endorsement.”

The organization has indicated that this will be the second time the tournament has been hosted in New York state. It was held last year at the Glen Oaks Club in Nassau County.

The golf tournament, a women’s event that is part of the Aramco Team Series, is expected to start on October 13. The course is expected to feature two of America’s most trusted stars in women’s golf, sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda.

Like the LIV Golf Series which has enhanced the highest levels of men’s golf by poaching some of the best players on the PGA Tour, the Aramco Team Series is linked to the Saudi State Corporate Network. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the series’ “current partner” and its main sponsor, Aramco, is the Saudi state-owned oil giant.

The Trump Organization argued that the city would have to pay a $30 million “termination fee” to cancel the contract — a possible outcome that “nobody should want,” Adams spokesman Maxwell Young said.

Young reiterated Adams’ position that the event should not take place on the track, but that the city cannot legally prevent it.

“It is outrageous that the Trump Organization agreed to host this tournament knowing how much pain it could cause New Yorkers, and it is frustrating that the contract we inherited from previous administrations provides absolutely no legal basis to do so. doesn’t occur,” Young said.

Adams’ chief of staff, Frank Carone, held at least two staff meetings this year to discuss the golf tournament, according to a copy of Caron’s daily schedules released by the city as part of an access to information request.

Last week, Adams met with family members of the September 11 attacks to hear their concerns about Saudi support for terrorists.

Before the meeting, Brett Eggelson, president of a group called 9/11 Justice, said Adams should move away from Ground Zero and the 9/11 memorials this month. The group also protested this summer at the LIV Golf Championship at The Trump Organization Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

After the meeting, the mayor’s office quietly issued a statement saying that the golf event should not take place in the city.

“I support the 9/11 community and share my deep anger at the decision to hold this tournament here since so many people suffered so much,” Adams said.

The Trump Organization’s management of the course, better known as Trump Golf Links at Fairy Point, was the subject of a battle with the city last year. Former Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to terminate the company’s contract in the wake of the riots on January 6, 2021 at the Washington Capitol.

But a judge ruled in April that the Trump Organization can continue to manage the golf course, finding the city wrongfully terminated the contract. De Blasio defended his efforts to isolate the company and urged the Adams administration to appeal the decision.

Adams, a more business-friendly Democrat than his predecessor, did not appeal the judge’s ruling.

The Trump Organization is set to go on trial for tax evasion in October, and Weiselberg is expected to be a key witness. He recently pleaded guilty to more than a dozen charges and admitted to participating in a long-running tax evasion scheme.

The council leaders’ letter also argues that Trump is listed as a guarantor of the licensing agreement with the city and faces multiple investigations, including a possible violation of the Espionage Act.

“The cloud of legal investigations of a more serious nature surrounding Trump impedes his ability to act as securely as required under the terms of this license,” the letter said.

The Aramco Team Series, which breathed new life into women’s golf with seven-figure prize money, was sanctioned by the European Women’s Tournament, allowing the women to compete in its events without the kinds of drop-outs faced by Leaf Golfers in the to face . Like comment.

The team series was featured in New York last year at the Glen Oaks Club in Nassau County, but organizers said this week that moving the event to Fairy Point provided the “perfect location” given its proximity to Manhattan. Organizers are marketing the tournament as “the first time an event of this scale has been held in New York”.

Tag Team Series representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

But judging by the ticket prices, the series falls short of interest in other sporting events: Adults can get admission to all three days of the tournament for a total of $10 per person.

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