Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is again looking into whether the city can cancel its contracts with the Trump Organization, this time as a result of President Donald Trump’s former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen’s legal troubles, The New York Times reported.
The Trump Organization has licenses to run four city-owned facilities, such as the Trump Ferry Point golf course in the Bronx, The Times reported Wednesday, adding that in some instances the Trump Organization pays rent to the city while in other instances the president’s namesake company and the city are in a revenue-sharing agreement.
After Cohen, who was formerly employed by the Trump Organization, entered a guilty plea in federal court last month on charges related to campaign-finance violations, tax evasion, and making a false statement to a bank, de Blasio asked city lawyers to figure out whether Cohen’s conviction allowed the city to void its contracts with the Trump Organization.
“We are monitoring these events to determine whether or not they provide grounds to take action,” Natalie Grybauskas, a de Blasio spokeswoman, told The Times.
Ronald Lieberman, a Trump Organization executive vice president, told The Times that the de Blasio administration’s latest effort was “rather absurd.”
“We are and have been in complete compliance with all our contracts with New York City, in fact we view that as rather absurd,” he said. “We have been a terrific partner for New York City, we have been very proud to be associated with these incredible, iconic properties, and we look forward to continuing our relationship.”
Both the Trump Organization and the mayor’s office did not immediately return requests for comment from Business Insider.
The mayor last sought to void the agreements in 2015 after Trump, in announcing his presidential bid, said the Mexican government was sending “rapists” across the southern border of the US. But at the time, lawyers told him the First Amendment protected Trump’s speech and made it so that the contracts could not be canceled, The Times reported.
But another factor that could come into play this time around is Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg’s immunity deal with federal investigators probing Cohen. Weisselberg’s name, The Times reported, is contained within contract documents between the city and the Trump Organization.
One expert, however, told The Times de Blasio’s latest effort was unlikely to be fruitful.
“It doesn’t sound like it’s really related to anything other than ‘We don’t like Donald Trump.'” Ross Sandler, director of the Center for New York City Law at New York Law School, told The Times.