Private citizen files suit over World Trade Center spending

Plaintiff seeks information about Silverstein Property's investment in Ground Zero development

From left: Larry Silverstein and Ground Zero
From left: Larry Silverstein and Ground Zero

The head of a citizen watchdog group filed suit to uncover documents spelling out how much World Trade Center developer Silverstein Properties has invested in the site’s rebuilding.

Margaret Donovan, who runs the nonprofit Twin Towers Alliance, filed suit in Manhattan Civil Court. The legal filings state that Donovan’s am is to gain access to “documents that were underlying the program at Ground Zero — particularly given the ballooning costs to the public and in particular to the region’s commuters.”

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Her investigation was spurred by the awarding of $4.55 billion in insurance payments to Silverstein, which is also jockeying for an additional $1.2 billion construction loan from the Port Authority, according to the New York Post. Donovan previously filed a Freedom of Information Law request in attempt to access the documents, but the Port Authority denied her request in December, 28 months after she filed. In court papers, the Port Authority said the material was exempt from such requests according to the agency’s bylaws.

Donovan says the rejection sends the message to taxpayers that “the arrangements between the Port Authority and Silverstein Properties is [sic] none of our business,” according to the suit.

A Port Authority representative did not immediately comment on the Post’s story, and a Silverstein spokesperson did not immediately return calls seeking comment. [NYP]Julie Strickland