Monday, June 13, 2016

Trump Scores $ Big At "Public" Golf Course At Taxpayer Expense

The Art Of The Steal

The public played 28, 291 rounds of golf at the taxpayer-funded Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park in the Bronx during its first year of operation. The facility opened in April 2015 and is the city's highest grossing city-owned course taking in over eight million dollars.  Greens fees acounted for $ 3.8 million dollars. Donald Trump is required pay the city nothing during the first four years of his 20-year contract and is allowed to charge more than four times what other city public courses do.  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) click on images to enlarge. 


By Geoffrey Croft

As expected Donald Trump is making out like a bandit in the Bronx at the taxpayers expense. 

Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park grossed over $ 8 million dollars in the first year of Trump's sweetheart deal with the City of New York.   

During its first full year of operation 28, 291 rounds of golf were played at the tax-payer built luxury course grossing $ 8,072, 529 according to financial documents obtained by NYC Park Advocates.    

Trump is required pay the city nothing through the first four years of his 20-year contract.  He is allowed to charge more than four times what other city public courses are allowed to.  Trump is also permitted to increase green fees annually according to his agreement.

The publicly funded project cost close to $ 230 million dollars, the most expensive municipally built golf course in the nation. 

Trump’s sweetheart deal doesn’t end there: The taxpayers are also responsible for paying his water and sewage bill facility which runs more than $ 1 million dollars annually.   Trump was reimbursed $1.05 million in water and sewage costs for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. The city estimates he will be reimbursed another $1.09 million for this fiscal year. 

In 2015 the “progressive” de Blasio administration quietly allowed Trump to dramatically raise fees - already the highest in the City - before the taxpayer built course even opened. 

Entrance Sign.  The golf course collected zero dollars in broadcasting or sponsorship revenue according financial documents submitted to the city and obtained by NYC Park Advocates.    

The greens fees are now $144.00 during the week and $172.00 on weekends.  Non-residents get bilked even further - prices are $194.00 during the week and  $ 219 dollars on weekends.   

Compared to city-wide rates of $ 39.00 weekday rate and $ 50.00 on weekends and holidays at the city’s more than a dozen other municipal golf courses  The rate drops $ 9 dollars after 12:00 pm during the week and  $ 10 dollars on weekends and  holidays.   A fee of up to $8.00 apply to non-residents.   

Seniors are penalized even more - they are charged almost five times more than at other “municipal” courses.  They have to cough up $ 140 dollars for a round compared to $ 24 dollars city-wide.  The “discounted” rates for seniors are not available on weekends and holiday’s.  Trumps’s original contract stipulated that seniors would pay $55 dollars. 

The high prices kept seniors away. They accounted for just 12 % of rounds played - teeing off only 3, 398 rounds out of 28, 291 during the course’s first year of operation. On average seniors usually make up nearly 40% of the demographics according to the National Golf Foundation statistics.  

The high prices are apparently not very popular with active duty military personnel either as just 60 people paid the $ 90 “discounted” Military Rate.  

Juniors (under 16) are now being charged a whopping $ 107 dollars compared to the city-wide rate of $ 7.75.  Trump’s new rate is high above the $35 for juniors specified under his original contract.  

Juniors played only 258 rounds of golf. 

More than a third of the rounds of golf were played by non-residents. 

Trump collected $ 514,000 in golf cart rental fees. The course charges $ 36 per rider,  more than double what the city courses charge. (Trump’s carts have GPS which allows food service staff to deliver food where ever you are on the course) 

The city’s elected officials apparently had no issue with Trump’s outrageous deal only when his what many people view as his racist views became more widely known during his presidential bid did call some call for the Ferry Point Golf contract to be terminated. 

Months after granting the rate increase Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a statement saying he found Mr. Trump’s controversial immigration remarks “offensive and disgusting,”  and said that the city would review its contracts with the Trump organization including its parks concessions. 

That went nowhere. 


The original contract signed by Donald Trump's Ferry Point Partners for green fees in 2013 listed $100 for a round of golf  (Monday-Thursday), and  $125 on weekends and holidays.  He was also allowed to charge non-residents $25 more on weekends without the approval of Parks or the city. 

Since then the sky-high green fees have skyrocketed even further. 

In 2007 Mayor Bloomberg decided the citys tax-payers should pay to build the luxurious Scottish links style (without trees) project after the Giuliani-selected original developer Pierre Gagne’s Ferry Point Partners walked away in 2006 because of rising costs. (but not before the city paid them nearly $15 million of the $43 million already spent by 2009) 

Bloomberg officials at the time absurdly claimed that rates would be affordable and comparable in price to the city’s more than a dozen other municipal golf courses.

“The intention is to keep [prices] in line with other city courses and not charge as premium,”  then Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said with a straight face in 2009.

The Clubhouse.  The snack bar, and food and beverage service sales brought in $ 802,000 dollars.   The temporary banquet facility brought in another $ 837, 737 dollars. Pro shop merchandise sales were $ 615, 412.  

It is highly unlikely the city will ever make back its investment considering the project’s price tag and the favorable terms Trump was given.  The city said it had hoped to recoup some of its investment by hosting PGA or LPGA events there, a prospect now highly unlikely considering Mr. Trumps’s numerous comments.

The Bloomberg administration also repeatedly claimed the course would generate economic activity in the Bronx without ever providing proof.     

Under the Radar Deal 

In December 2011 the City announced they had negotiated a 20-year license agreement for the operation of the Ferry Point Golf Course to the Trump Organization. 

The Parks Department dumped a press release announcing the proposed deal with Trump on a Friday, the day before Christmas Eve. The financial arrangements were conspicuously absent in the announcement. The shocking terms of the proposed agreement were quietly released in the City Record the following week. 


Trump is required pay the city nothing through the first four years of his 20-year contract. Years 1-4: No Fee. Year 5: $300,000 or 7% of Gross Receipts plus 3% of sublicense gross receipts. By the 10th year, he is required to pay $360,000 or 7% of Gross Receipts plus 3% of sublicense gross receipts. By year 20, he is required to pay the city $470,000 or 10% of Gross Receipts plus 3% of sublicense gross receipts.

Trump is required to invest $10 million to build a clubhouse which is slated to begin next year. The facility is expected to bring significantly more revenue to Trump.

The person in charge of the Trump golf deal is Ronald Lieberman, Ferry Point vice president of special projects for the Trump Organization and former head of the Parks Department revenue division until 2007 when he went to work for Trump.  

“We view this as anything but a sweetheart deal,” Lieberman said in 2012.

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus got paid $ 1.25 million for design services and taxpayer-subsidized luxury travel perks according to the City’s agreement including "private aircraft, helicopter, and other expedient methods of transportation." 

Trump’s sweetheart deal doesn’t end there:  When his payments to the city do kick in his minimum annual fees are be much smaller  than those paid by the city’s other golf concessionaires — his percentage of gross receipts will also be less, according to several licensing agreements reviewed by NYC Park Advocates.

The 18-hole golf course in Brooklyn’s Marine Park, for instance, compensates the city as follows: In each operating year, the licensee shall pay the city license fees consisting of the higher of the minimum annual fee. (Years 1-5: $325,000; Years 6-10: $475,000; Years 11-15: $575,000; Years 16-20: $675,000)

In Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, the golf course’s 20-year agreement calls for the city to collect, in years 1-5, the greater of $300, 000 or 17 percent of green fees and cart rentals and 10 percent of merchandise, snack bar/grill, and other revenue, plus 35 percent of resident ID card fees. by the years 16-20: The greater of $550,000 or 20 percent of green fees and cart rentals and 10 percent of merchandise, snack bar/grill and other revenue, plus 35 percent of resident ID cards. 

Private Uses. 

Trump is also allowed to completely close the golf course to the public on any day for private tournaments and outings, league play, and junior or youth programs. Requests to close the facility "shall not be unreasonably withheld" by the Parks Department, according to the terms of the agreement. He would also be allowed to use up to 20 percent of starting times Monday through Friday for private tournaments and outings. 

To further maximize his earning potential, during the hours and days the golf course is not ordinarily open to the public Trump is entitled to conduct special events in any banquet or other catering facility. Listed banquet events include weddings, civil unions, renewals of vows, bridal/baby showers, birthdays, family reunions, and afternoon teas, to name just a few.

In addition to the golf course concession, the city is also required to build Trump a waterfront park snack-bar concession called “Donald’s Joint.”

Déjà vu

"It's a mess ... There was a contract entered into long before our administration ... It turns out it was a terrible contract. But that doesn't mean you go criticize the guys that did it because, for all I know, I would have done the same thing. Maybe at that time it appeared to be a great contract.” 
  -  Mayor Bloomberg infamously stated on November 23, 2007.

19.5 Acre Waterfront Park

The community’s long promised 19.5 acre waterfront esplanade park is nowhere to be found.   
Originally scheduled to open in 2013, today the area is filled with weeds, its topography appears just as it did more than six decades ago when Robert Moses built the crescent shaped waterfront in anticipation of building an actual public park at the site and smaller golf course. 
The public is supposedly able to track progress on agency projects on its online Capital ProjectTracker website created to “ increase transparency.”  However the project is also nowhere to be seen. 

What little reference there was to the project was removed from the website long ago. 

Sign of the Times. Enter At Your Own Risk. Near the long promised waterfront park's future entrance at Emerson & Schurz Aves.

(Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) click on images to enlarge. 

Read More:

New York Post - June 13, 2016 - By Rich Calder 

 A Walk In The Park - April 1, 2015 

A Walk In The Park - October 16, 2013 -  By Geoffrey Croft

Donald Trump In Sweetheart City Tax-Payer Funded Golf Concession Deal
A Walk In The Park - January 9, 2013 - By Geoffrey Croft

A Walk In The Park - September 30, 2012 - By Geoffrey Croft 

A Walk In The Park - December 24, 2011 - By Geoffrey Croft

A Walk In The Park - August 17, 2009


  1. Why doesn't anyone seem to notice that a former bigshot at parks arranged this whole deal? Now he's a vice president for special projects at the Trump Organization.

  2. Somebody needs to just block the word "Trump", period.