By Artemis Moshtaghian and Chandelis Duster, CNN
Families of 9/11 victims are calling on New York Mayor Eric Adams to rescind an invitation to a Saudi-funded golf tournament to be held at a golf course owned by Donald Trump in New York in October .
The Aramco Team Series women’s golf tournament in question is set to take place in New York City from October 13-15, according to the tournament’s official website. The website does not indicate where the tournament will be held in New York, but the Washington Post and New York Times, citing city officials, reported that it will be held at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx. .
“9/11 Justice calls on New York City Mayor Adams to stay away from Ground Zero and all other 9/11 memorials and events unless his office rescinds his endorsement of the series of Saudi-funded Aramco golf course in New York in October at the Trump Links course (Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point),” 9/11 families advocate Brett Eagleson said in a statement Friday.
CNN has reached out to the Trump Organization and the Aramco Team Series for comment.
The request follows an outcry from advocacy groups and the media who called for support for the LIV golf tournaments to be canceled due to alleged human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and the 2018 murder of the Washington columnist Post Jamal Khashoggi. It also comes weeks before the 21st anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, in which allegations of Saudi government complicity have long been the subject of controversy in Washington.
The Aramco Team Series is a golf series funded by Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco, the same organization that sponsors the LIV golf tournament.
“The fact that this news comes less than two weeks before 9/11 on the heels of the LIV tournament in Bedminster, I just think the whole 9/11 community got it,” said Eagleson, whose father Bruce was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, CNN told Saturday. “It’s blatant, it’s in your face and it’s deaf.”
Trump, who dismissed criticism from LIV Golf, has benefited from his professional relationship with the golf tour, particularly after PGA of America officials removed the 2022 PGA Championship from Trump’s Bedminster course after the insurgency from January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol. . During an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month, he spoke approvingly of how the golf tour has enhanced the kingdom’s reputation and called it “a big thing for Saudi Arabia”.
City says it can’t break deal
Adams’ publicist, Fabien Levy, told CNN, “While we don’t agree with the values of the Trump Organization, we cannot legally block their candidacy.” New York City officials also said the tournament was agreed upon under former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and the current administration could not break the agreement.
“As the ruling in the previous administration’s court case showed, contractually, the city is obligated to follow the terms of the Trump Ferry licensing agreement and cannot unreasonably withhold approval of this tournament.” , Nick Paolucci of the NYC Legal Department told CNN on Friday.
Michael Cardozo, a former New York City Corporation attorney and current Proskauer partner, said the city is “obligated to abide by the express terms of the contract they entered into” and while they don’t want the tournament golf takes place, she does. does not give him “the right to prohibit the Trump Organization from allowing the tournament to take place”.
Eagleson, who urged officials to cancel the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series tournament held at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, last month, said he was not suggesting that the city breaks the legal contracts, but that the city takes a stronger position. .
“I think the mayor should consider meeting with some members of the 9/11 community,” Eagleson said, adding that a meeting with the community would show he’s willing to work with them to find a solution.
Allegations of Saudi government complicity in the September 11, 2001 attacks have long been the subject of controversy in Washington. Fifteen of the 19 al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked four planes were Saudi nationals, but the Saudi government has denied any involvement in the attacks.
The 9/11 Commission established by Congress said in 2004 that it found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” al-Qaeda.
Still, families of the victims have been pushing for new disclosures, and last year the FBI released a document that details its work to investigate alleged logistical support that a Saudi consular official and suspected Saudi intelligence agent in Los Angeles provided at least two hijackers.
Golf Saudi, owner of the Aramco Team series, sponsors a monthly 30-minute golf show on CNN International.
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CNN’s Liam Reilly and Michael Warren contributed to this report.