2012-05-25 / Letters

Penner Thoughts

Dear Editor,

Senator Schumer lobbying the General Services Administration (GSA) to sign a lease for space at 1 World Trade Center makes no sense for taxpayers. First, we have provided several billion dollars toward subsidizing reconstruction of 1 WTC. Current cost is now $3.9 billion including a $1 billion cost overrun.

Overall costs of rebuilding the 16 acre site including the 9/11 memorial and other projects has increased from $11 billion in 2008 to $15 billion today. Taxpayers are being asked to pay twice by providing funding for GSA to rent space at the same facility from the Port Authority (another government agency) and the Durst Organization. (Does Schumer have any conflicts of interest in soliciting campaign contributions from members of the Durst Organization as a political quid pro quo for “assisting” and “steering” tenants to them?) Why shouldn’t 100 percent of 1 WTC space be rented out to privatesector tenants thus saving taxpayers funds? There are already numerous other GSA buildings in Manhattan along with other locations in the five boroughs and suburbs. Don’t forget that more companies have been moving out of Manhattan to other boroughs, suburbs and out of state. This has increased existing surplus capacity of office building space at these same locations. Many other owners of facilities can offer leasing at a far lower price per square foot. They could easily beat the so called bargain of $40 a square foot at 1 WTC. Why not attempt saving taxpayers millions? With a $16 trillion plus deficit, shouldn’t the GSA along with other federal agencies be consolidating rather than renting more office space? Schumer’s actions are just padding the amount of leased space at 1 WTC with taxpayers picking up the tab. Schumer reminds me of Don Corleone, the “Godfather.“ With all of his powers in re-viewing and approving GSA’s annual fiscal year budget, he is making them “an offer they can’t refuse!”

LARRY PENNER

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