Silverstein: “I implore you, Governor”

In a letter to the Governor written today, Larry Silverstein gives his version of the breakdown in talks, stating that “the Port Authority abruptly ended the negotiations and headed straight to the press to engage in offensive personal assaults.”

Silverstein goes through no fewer than eight instances when he says he complied with the Governor’s request (although, in some cases, the developer made out better as a result). And then finally, “I urge you to personally demand a return to the negotiating table for everyone to remain until an agreement has been reached.”

News-wise, the letter states, in writing, Silverstein’s willingness to share at least some of the insurance money and his promise to start the Freedom Tower (though he uses the phrase “this spring” instead of April).

Full text (isn’t it fun to read other people’s mail?) after the jump.

-Matthew Schuerman

March 16, 2006

Hon. George Pataki
Governor, State of New York
Executive Chamber
State Capital
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Pataki:

In the days following the horrific attacks of September 11th, you and I sat down as fellow New Yorkers and Americans, and we agreed that it was our shared duty to commit ourselves to rebuilding the World Trade Center and restoring the City’s historic business center. You vowed to make it the first priority for the rest of your term as Governor, while I committed to devote the rest of my career to this solemn duty.

The events and the words of the past few days deeply sadden me, because in my heart, I know that we both share that passionate commitment to rebuild, and that we both know there is no time to lose. That is why I am ready and eager to return to the negotiating table.

I implore you, Governor, use your leadership right now and get the negotiations back on track so this temporary setback does not become permanent.

I am quite sure that your appointees at the Port Authority will heed your call. You can be sure that I would comply with a request from you to sit down and promptly resolve the remaining issues. I have consistently done what you have asked and kept every promise I have made to you.

When you asked for my support for the extended government planning process, which took three years to complete, I agreed.

When we were asked to accept the Libeskind master plan that specified the timing, location and other key features of the Freedom Tower, I said yes.

After more than a year designing and preparing for construction of the Freedom Tower based on the Port Authority’s security mandates, you asked me if I would completely redesign it because it turned out the NYPD had overruled the Port Authority. I agreed even though doing so meant yet another delay in getting this project going.

When you asked me to take steps to ensure that foundation work on the Freedom Tower would begin this spring, I did so – a commitment I intend to honor.

And when you asked us to renegotiate our business agreement with the Port Authority, I said yes and gave you my word to negotiate in good faith.

And I did negotiate in absolute good faith – until the Port Authority broke off the talks. I admit to being a hopeless optimist, but I was entirely confident that a deal was at hand on Tuesday evening when the Port Authority abruptly ended the negotiations and headed straight to the press to engage in offensive personal assaults.

During those negotiations, we were asked to surrender two sites. And we did. We were asked to share our insurance money with the Port Authority, and we were prepared to do so. We were asked to continue to pay rent well in excess of the market – and we agreed.

In short, we were asked by all sectors of government to make enormous concessions. And we did so – all in the interest of getting the World Trade Center rebuilt.

We are ready and eager to sit back down. As you know, every day counts. That is why I urge you to personally demand a return to the negotiating table and for everyone to remain until an agreement has been reached.

As I have said many times, failure is not an option here. We need to get this done, and to get the rebuilding off the ground. We owe it to the people of New York. I know you feel the same way.

Very truly yours,

Larry Silverstein