NYC shutting Central Park ice rinks run by Trump Organisation early

Eric Trump calls mayor Bill de Blasio ‘petty’ for ceasing operations

James Crump@thejamescrump
Saturday 20 February 2021 13:02
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New York City is forcing two Central Park ice rinks managed by the Trump Organisation to shut on Sunday - a month before the contracts are set to expire, axing hundreds of jobs.

The Trump Organisation’s contracts at Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink are scheduled to expire in April, but the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, moved for them to cease operations on Sunday, according to the New York Post.

The Trump Organisation’s contracts were terminated in January along with all of their agreements with New York City, after Donald Trump faced his second House impeachment trial following the events of the Capitol riots, where five people died and several more were injured.

Mr Trump was acquitted of inciting the insurrection last week, even though a bipartisan majority – 57 to 43 – voted to convict him. A total of 67 senators was required for conviction.

Following the House impeachment, Mr de Blasio tweeted: “New York City doesn’t do business with insurrectionists. We’re taking steps to TERMINATE agreements with the Trump Organisation.”

“Trump has been impeached from operating the ice rink,” a spokesman for the mayor added on 31 January when announcing that the contracts for the ice rinks would be terminated.

The rinks will close on Sunday so the organisation can pack up its belongings, including around 17,000 pairs of ice skates, before it vacates the two premises.

The rinks generally conduct operations throughout March and April, but will now be forced to close for the remainder of the season.

In a statement to the Post, a spokesperson for the Trump Organisation said it had appealed to the city to let them continue operations over the next two months to “save the jobs of nearly 250 individuals who work or otherwise provide services at Wollman and Lasker Rink.”

The spokesperson added that the city “rejected our efforts”, while its executive vice president, Eric Trump, the second son of Mr Trump, called the decision “petty”.

Speaking about the decision to cease operations early, he said “the city is saying in effect: ‘We don’t care if it destroys the skating season; we want you out now.’”

He added: “The mayor is absolutely petty.

“This isn’t about us, this is about the people of the city who come here to skate and disabled kids who joined hockey teams and others who joined skating school and take lessons every week.”

The Trump Organisation is appealing the contract terminations by the city, including its golf course at Ferry Point, which still has 18 years left to run.

Eric Trump told The Post: “If they terminate, they will owe us $35m (£24m).”

The closing date for companies to submit proposals to take over the ice rinks is 19 March, and the Parks Department confirmed to the Post that it is still looking for an organisation to manage them.

The Independent has contacted Mr de Blasio’s office for comment.

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