The moment we saw Bill de Blasio’s ugly swing, we knew the ball was headed for the sand trap. In a Trumpian tantrum last January, the then-mayor pulled the Trump Organization’s contracts with the city, including the Trump Golf Links course in the Bronx, on the publicly stated grounds that the then-president had committed a crime on January 6. We would never defend Trump’s conduct that day — or during the rest of his term, for that matter — but Trump has yet to be charged, let alone convicted, of violating any laws related to the ignominious insurrection. In its legal documents, the city’s stated justification was that with the villain’s name on the sign, the course would not be able to attract top-level professional tournaments.
It was an absurd stance, as Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Debra James ruled on Friday. The course had no legal requirement to host PGA-level tournaments; the contract only refers to the obligation to operate “a first-class, tournament-quality, pay-per-day golf course”. The town turned into a pretzel to try and argue that it meant what the town claimed it meant, but James didn’t believe him. Thus, the city’s claim that Trump violated its agreement “has no legal basis.”
If only that had been the biggest display of incompetence in the course. Last September, the Parks Department attempted to sign a deal with a new golf course operator — a joint venture between Atlanta-based Bobby Jones Links and homeless shelter provider CORE Services Group, which owned a half a billion dollars in contracts with the city. After CORE’s role was revealed, they backed off.
Now it’s back to square one, uh hole, one, with the Adams administration’s legal department proclaiming itself disappointed and weighing its options. The only thing more chimerical than trying to put a very small ball in a very small hole with poorly designed tools for that purpose is trying to undo an agreement based on language that is not there .