TODAY'S PAPER

Trump contracts with city parks should be terminated, Councilman Levine says

Wollman Rink in Central Park is filled with skaters on Nov. 22, 2014. / Aaron Zebrook

City Councilman Mark Levine is urging the city Parks Department to terminate its contracts with businesses owned by President Donald Trump in light of recent guilty pleas from his former personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Levine, whose district includes the Upper West Side and Washington Heights, said on Friday that documents released as part of Cohen’s plea deal prove the Trump Organization is “deeply entangled in a criminal conspiracy,” and provide the city with the opportunity to cut ties with the Trump-owned companies.

“This is exactly the pretext used for cancellation of a similar concession agreement with another company in 2011, when the Parks Departments terminated the contract of East Coast Golf, Inc., to run a golf course in Marine Park, Brooklyn, because of alleged ties to organized crime,” Levine said in an emailed statement on Friday.

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Levine argued the city’s contracts with Trump’s businesses have long been problematic, with promises of public benefits unrealized, exorbitant pricing to users and falling city revenue.

The city has three contracts with Trump businesses — Wollman Rink LLC, Central Park Carousel LLC and Trump Ferry Point LLC — that are expected to last at least through 2020, The Washington Post reported in May.

While the city projected in 2017 that it would receive about $2.1 million from its contract with Wollman Rink Operations, which also runs Lasker Rink at the northern tip of Central Park, Trump received nearly $9.3 million from the same deal, The Washington Post reported.

“It’s time for the city Parks Department to sever ties with the Trump Organization once and for all. We must free Wollman Rink, Lasker Rink, the Central Park Carousel, and the Ferry Point Landing golf course from the grip of a company which harms the interest of New Yorkers and violates the law,” the councilman said. “The precedent for taking such action is clear. The Trump Organization’s parks concessions contracts should be terminated immediately.”

A spokeswoman for the mayor's office said they are monitoring the events surrounding Cohen's plea deal to, "determine whether or not they provide grounds to take action."

Levine made a similar demand in 2015, when he was the chair of the City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation. The councilman said Trump’s remarks about Mexican immigrants while announcing his bid for the GOP presidential nomination on June 16, 2015, were “despicable” and provided cause for terminating the contracts.