In his trademark declaration of "You're fired!," billionaire developer Donald Trump appeared at Jones Beach Wednesday to say New York State's park commissioner should go and the state should let him build his stalled catering hall project at Jones Beach.
Trump appeared on the Jones Beach boardwalk as supporters and a smaller group of foes staged dueling rallies over the multi-million dollar project whose future is now in the hands of New York courts.
"We need jobs," and "Let Trump build," were two of the chants from those backing the project.
Opponents carried signs reading "Fire Trump" and "Go Back to Atlantic City."
"I am not opposed to a restaurant, but I am opposed to this big Taj Majal," said Patrick Murray of Seaford.
"We need people back at work," countered Chris Brown of the Wantagh Chamber of Commerce. "We need this built today. We need it started now."
Trump on the Ocean was supposed to be built about three years ago along the Jones Beach boardwalk, at the same site that housed a restaurant since 1936. But an ongoing legal fight stopped it before any work was done.
The controversy has revolved around the catering hall's proposed basement. Trump wants it; but New York parks officials said a basement isn't safe in a flood prone area.
"There was a building here," Trump pointed out, "which, by the way, had a basement."
"They don't want us to build a basement because they said, 'What if water gets in?' Well, if water gets in, you leave," he said.
Trump characterized the delay as another example of the state's failure to welcome businesses and jobs.
He then went on to call Carol Ash, the former Parks commissioner, "grossly incompetent."
A spokesman for the Parks Department pointed out Ash left the post last year and would not respond to the personal attacks, but a prepared statement from the agency said, "State parks stands ready to honor the existing contract and we ask the developers to do the same. The project has been halted by expensive court actions, all initiated by Trump on the Ocean."
The final decision on whether Trump on the Ocean is ever built will probably be decided by New York's highest court.
Follow Greg Cergol on Twitter @GregCergol4NY