On October 17, 2000, eleven months before 9/11,
Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, of The Blackstone Group, L.P, purchased, from Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association,
the participating mortgage secured by World Trade Center, Building 7.1
April 26, 2001 the Port Authority
leased the WTC for 99 years to Silverstein Properties and Westfield America Inc,
The transaction was authorised by Port Authority
Chairman Lewis M. Eisenberg.
This transfer from the New York and New Jersey Port Authority
was tantamount to the privatisation of the WTC Complex. The official press release described it as "the richest real estate
prize in New York City history". The retail space underneath the complex was leased to Westfield America Inc.2
On 24 July 2001, 6 weeks prior to 9/11 Silverstein
took control of the lease of the WTC following the Port Authority decision on April 26.
Silverstein and Frank Lowy, CEO of Westfield Inc. took control of the 10.6 million-square-foot WTC complex. "Lowy leased the shopping concourse called
the Mall at the WTC, which comprised about 427,000 square feet of retail space."3
Explicitly included in the agreement was that Silverstein and
Westfield "were given the right to rebuild the structures if they were destroyed". 4
In this transaction, Silverstein signed a rental contract for
the WTC over 99 years amounting to 3,2 billion dollars in installments to be made to the Port Authority: 800 million covered
fees including a down payment of the order of 100 million dollars. Of this amount, Silverstein put in 14 million dollars of
his own money. The annual payment on the lease was of the order of 115 million dollars.5
In the wake of the WTC attacks, Silverstein is
suing for some $7.1 billion in insurance money, double the amount of the value of the 99 year lease.6
Silverstein Properties Inc.
is a Manhattan-based real estate development and investment firm that owns, manages, and has developed more than 20 million
square feet of office, residential and retail space.
Westfield America, Inc. is controlled by
the Australian based Lowy family with major interests in shopping centres. The CEO of Westfield is Australian businessman
The Blackstone Group, a private investment
bank with offices in New York and London, was founded in 1985 by its Chairman, Peter G. Peterson, and its President
and CEO, Stephen A. Schwarzman.
In addition to its Real Estate activities, the Blackstone
Group's core businesses include Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory, Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory, Private Equity
Investing, Private Mezzanine Investing, and Liquid Alternative Asset Investing.7
Blackstone chairman Peter G. Petersen is also Chairman
of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Chairman of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). His
partner Stephen A. Schwarzman is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Peter G. Petersen
is also named in widow Ellen Mariani�s widow civil RICO suit filed against. George W. Bush, et al.
Kissinger McLarty Associates, which is Henry
Kissinger�s consulting firm has a "strategic alliance" with the Blackstone Group "which is designed to help provide
financial advisory services to corporations seeking high-level strategic advice." (www.blackstone.com) .
1 Business Wire, 17 October 2000
2. See Paul Goldberger in The New Yorker, May 20, 2002.
3 C. Bollyn, "Did Rupert Murdoch Have Prior Knowledge of 9/11?"
Centre for Research on Globalization, globalresearch.ca, 20 October 2003.
4. Goldberger, op cit
5, Associated Press, 22 November 2003. See also Die Welt, Berlin,
Oct 11, 2001.
6. Alison Frankel, The American Lawyer, Sept 3
7 Business Wire, op cit