Vornado Realty Trust and Silverstein Properties are bidding to develop the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new $2-billion headquarters outside Washington, D.C, but their personal ties to President-elect Donald Trump could complicate matters.
Vornado’s CEO Steve Roth owns the majority stake in Midtown office tower 1290 Sixth Avenue, which Trump owns a non-controlling stake in. The business moguls are reportedly friends, and Roth has also struck business deals with Trump’s son-in-law and consigliere Jared Kushner. Roth also served on Trump’s economic advisory team, although he later distanced himself from it.
Vornado’s share price rose after Trump’s election victory, as did the stocks of many other real estate investment trusts.
The Real Deal recently broke down the risks of crony capitalism and potential conflicts of interest under a Trump administration.
Meanwhile, Trump, who, as commander-in-chief will effectively oversee the FBI starting Jan. 20, has also referred to Larry Silverstein as a friend, the Washington Post reports.
Whoever wins the bidding would not only get around $1 billion in federal funds to develop the project, but would also win control over the FBI’s current headquarters in central Washington, D.C. Trump reportedly thought about bidding for the project himself, before running for President. [WaPo] — Konrad Putzier