“Wait’ll you see what I do,” Donald Trump told a crowd at a campaign stop in Urbandale, Iowa, in January 2016. “Remember the Wollman Rink in Central Park? You know, they couldn’t — years and years, they couldn’t do it. I knocked it up in four months. And to this day — that must have been 30 years ago, and nothing changes.”
In September 2015, Bloomberg News wrote that Trump’s efforts on Wollman Rink form “the core of his political identity.” Trump told some version of that anecdote repeatedly during the presidential campaign, using it as an example of how he, the private businessman, accomplished in only a matter of months what the city of New York couldn’t for years. Whether Iowans were actually familiar with the skating rink at the southern end of Central Park wasn’t the point. The point was that Trump was a different kind of politician.
Wollman Rink has paid off for Trump since 2016, too. In a financial disclosure filed Wednesday, Trump reported having earned more than $9 million in income from the company that operates that rink and a larger one at the northern end of the park. Since 2015, Trump has reported nearly $35 million in income from the two rinks.
Wollman Rink Operations LLC has been contracted to run the rinks since November 2001. The initial contract with the city, which lasted to mid-2012, stipulated that the city would receive either $1.4 million to $1.8 million as an annual fee or 28 percent of gross receipts plus 56 percent of concessions, whichever was higher. Data from the city comptroller suggests that the minimum payment New York receives from the rinks following an extension of the contract to 2021 is similar.
In 2017, the city projected that it would get about $2.1 million in concessions from Wollman Rink Operations. Trump got nearly $9.3 million overall.
That’s not Trump’s only contract with the city. Near Wollman Rink in Central Park is the Friedsam Memorial Carousel. It’s operated by Trump, too, through Trump Carousel LLC. From 2015 through 2017, it generated about $2 million for Trump. (The city anticipated revenue of $185,714 from concessions in 2017.)
He also took over the building and management of a golf course on a landfill in the Bronx, a deal that was finalized in 2010. That course, sitting at the northern base of the Whitestone Bridge, has brought in $22 million for Trump over the past three years.
Ownership of the three LLCs that run the rinks, carousel and golf course is complicated. One hundred percent of Wollman Rink Operations LLC is owned by DJT Holdings LLC, a company owned by the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, which became the main vehicle to hold his business interests once he was inaugurated. Trump Carousel LLC is 99 percent owned by DJT Holdings, with 1 percent owned by Trump Carousel Member Corp., which is owned by DJT Holdings Managing Member LLC. Trump Ferry Point LLC is also 99 percent owned by DJT Holdings, with the last 1 percent owned by Trump Ferry Point Member Corp., which is fully owned by the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.
Simple as can be.
Each of these properties is contracted with the city at least through 2020 — meaning that Trump will continue to receive income from them through this term in office. If the downward trend shown in that first graph continues, though, it will be somewhere south of the $16 million he earned from them in 2017.