New York City to terminate Trump contracts after Capitol insurrection

In this file photo a view of the lower Manhattan skyline is seen from the Staten Island Ferry as a seagull flies by on January 04, 2021 in New York City. New York City will terminate its contracts with the Trump Organization following last week's violent rampage at the US Capitol, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on January 13, 2021. (AFP / Angela Weiss)
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Updated 14 January 2021

New York City to terminate Trump contracts after Capitol insurrection

  • Trump Organization earns $17 million a year in profits from running two ice skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park and a golf course in the Bronx
  • The PGA Championship is also moving away from Trump's New Jersey golf course next year

NEW YORK: New York City will terminate business contracts with President Donald Trump after last week’s insurrection at the US Capitol, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
“I’m here to announce that the city of New York is severing all contracts with the Trump Organization,” de Blasio said in an interview on MSNBC.
De Blasio said the Trump Organization earns about $17 million a year in profits from its contracts to run two ice skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park as well as a golf course in the Bronx.
The city can legally terminate a contract if the leadership of a company is engaged in criminal activity, the Democratic mayor said.
“Inciting an insurrection — let’s be very clear, let’s say the words again — inciting an insurrection against the United States government clearly constitutes criminal activity,” he said.
A Trump Organization spokesperson said the city can’t cancel the contracts.
“The City of New York has no legal right to end our contracts and if they elect to proceed, they will owe The Trump Organization over $30 million dollars,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “This is nothing more than political discrimination, an attempt to infringe on the First Amendment and we plan to fight vigorously.”

The move to end Trump’s business contracts in the city he formerly called home is the latest example of how the Jan. 6 breach by violent Trump supporters is affecting the Republican president’s business interests.
The PGA of America voted Sunday to take the PGA Championship away from his New Jersey golf course next year, a move that came after social media platforms disabled Trump’s accounts and Shopify took down online stores affiliated with him.
De Blasio had said earlier that the city was examining its legal options to end the Trump contracts. He said Wednesday that city lawyers determined that if Trump sues over the move, the city would win. Trump “incited a mob to attack the Capitol,” de Blasio said, adding, “the lawyers looked at it and it was just as clear as a bell that’s grounds for severing these contracts and we’re moving to do that right away.”
Jim Johnson, the head of the city law department, said the PGA’s move to cut ties with Trump gives the city additional grounds to terminate the golf course contract.
“One of the reasons that he was given that contract was his ability to attract major golf tournaments,” Johnson said at a briefing with the mayor. After the PGA’s action last weekend, Johnson said, “we’re entitled to and are invoking our provisions, our right to declare him in default.”
The split with Trump’s namesake company won’t happen immediately, though. De Blasio said in a news release that terminating contract to run the Ferry Point golf course in the Bronx is complex “and is expected to take a number of months.”
Termination of the contract to run Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink in Central Park will take effect 30 days after written notice is delivered, de Blasio said. Termination of the contract to run the carousel, which is now closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, will take effect 25 days after written notice.
The city will seek new vendors for all the attractions, the mayor said.
Removing the Trump name from the rinks, carousel and golf course won’t erase him from New York City. He will still operate Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and the Trump International Hotel on Central Park West. Trump moved his official residence from Trump Tower to Florida in 2019.


Turkey and Greece resume talks on maritime disputes after five years

Updated 25 January 2021

Turkey and Greece resume talks on maritime disputes after five years

ANKARA: Turkey and Greece resumed talks aimed at addressing long-standing maritime disputes on Monday, diplomatic sources said, after months of tension in the eastern Mediterranean.
The neighboring countries, which are both members of the NATO military alliance, made little progress in 60 rounds of talks from 2002 to 2016.
Plans for resuming discussions foundered last year over Turkey’s deployment of a survey vessel in contested Mediterranean waters and disagreements over which topics to cover.
Ankara and Athens agreed this month to resume talks in Istanbul, in a test of Turkey’s hopes of improving its relations with the European Union, which has supported EU-member Greece and threatened sanctions on Turkey.
Both sides have voiced guarded optimism before the talks, though Ankara and Athens were still trading barbs in the days leading up to Monday’s meetings in Istanbul.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said last week Greece would approach the talks with optimism but “zero naivety.” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped the resumption of talks would herald a new era.
Despite the agreement to resume talks, Athens said on Saturday it would discuss only the demarcation of exclusive economic zones and the continental shelf in the eastern Mediterranean, and not issues of “national sovereignty.”
Ankara has said it wants the talks to cover the same topics as in the first 60 rounds, including the demilitarization of islands in the Aegean and disagreements over air space.
It was not immediately clear what the agenda of the talks was on Monday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held a series of talks in Brussels last week to discuss possible future steps to maintain what he called the “positive atmosphere” between Ankara and the EU since the bloc postponed imposing sanctions on Turkey until March at a December summit.