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The Port Authority is paying Larry Silverstein $21.5 million to develop the Freedom Tower - even though he has absolutely no role in building the 1,776-foot icon, the Daily News has learned.
More than two years after the builder lost control of the planned 102-story tower at Ground Zero, he is collecting $500,000 monthly "development fees" - and the checks will keep flowing until mid-2010, documents show.
The giveaway - $15.25 million so far and an additional $6.25 million in the pipeline - is costing bridge and tunnel commuters the equivalent of 2.7 million George Washington Bridge tolls or 12.3 million PATH fares.
The PA has never made such a request. Agency officials confirm that Silverstein is receiving development fees even though he's done no work on the building since the deal was thrashed out more than two years ago.
Silverstein defended the Freedom Tower fees, noted they were approved by all parties, and claimed they are "dramatically below market" - 1% of the then-estimate of the project's cost.
"Over the past three years, the Port Authority has elected not to utilize our services," his spokesman said.
A federal jury ruled that the assault on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center was in fact two occurrences for insurance purposes. The finding in U.S. District Court in Manhattan means leaseholder Larry Silverstein may collect up to $4.6 billion, according to reports. [Forbes.com 12/06/04]