The Trump Organisation sued New York City on Monday for cancelling its contract to run a golf course in the Bronx earlier this year, a move it said was politically motivated and should be reversed.
The lawsuit, filed in state court, says nothing in the 566-page contract gave New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio the right to terminate the deal after the president’s supporters stormed the US Capitol earlier this year.
The company is demanding to be allowed to continue to run the course, which has dramatic views of the Manhattan skyline, or that the city pay millions of dollars to buy them out.
The lawsuit is the opening shot in what is expected to be a protracted, and possibly costly, fight between the city and the Trump Organisation, according to several lawyers who reviewed the contract and experts familiar with the business practices of the litigious former US president.
“Mayor de Blasio’s actions are purely politically motivated, have no legal merit, and are yet another example of the mayor’s efforts to advance his own partisan agenda and interfere with free enterprise,” the Trump Organisation said in a statement.
The city said Mr Trump was clearly in breach of the contract terms and it would “vigorously defend” its decision.
When Mr de Blasio announced he was kicking Mr Trump off the course in January, he cited Mr Trump’s “criminal action” in inciting Capitol rioters, arguing he could fire him “for cause” and not pay him a dime.
The firing was part of a backlash against Mr Trump after the January 6 violence. Insurers, banks and brokers also refused to conduct any future business with the former president’s company.
The city has also cited a decision by the PGA of America to cancel a tournament that was going to be held at one of Mr Trump’s golf courses in New Jersey.
The city said Mr Trump could no longer argue he can attract prestigious tournaments to the Bronx course, called Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, as is required in the contract.
In its lawsuit, the Trump Organisation said the contract did not require it to attract tournaments, only obliging it maintain a course that is “first-class, tournament quality”.
It attached letters stating from course designers, golf organisations and famous golfers including top-ranked players Dustin Johnson and US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, saying the course met that standard.