Commentary and Newsletters

Anne Bayefsky

UN Expansion Advocates Try End-Run Around NY State Senate and Congress

Monday, April 3, 2006

The UN is trying to do an end-run on New York state legislators and congressional committees which have so far balked at extravagant UN expansion plans. A draft resolution being considered Monday, April 3rd, by the UN's budget committee, makes a number of proposals, including the suggestion that the UN be allocated $100.5 million dollars to plan expansion. The 100 million dollars is said to be "for financing the design and preconstruction phases, including swing space requirements."

U.S. representatives are arguing that such a huge allocation prejudges the end result, by effectively pushing one of four particular expansion strategies identified in earlier reports. That strategy, number IV, is projected to cost $2,126,600,000 -- 22% of which would come from American taxpayers.

Earlier UN documents total the bill to be over 2 billion this way: "The costs are estimated at $1,587.8 million, including a $470.5 million increase due to phasing, construction cost escalation and redesign and $68.3 million due to increased requirements for swing space."

The link between the "preconstruction" 100.5 million to a particular expansion plan is obvious from UN documents dated last December. They state "...The Secretary-General proposes that the General Assembly appropriate additional amount of $100.5 million for financing the design and preconstruction phases, including swing space requirements, for strategy IV of the capital master plan..."

Last year New York developer Donald Trump told the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee that UN planners "don't know what they're doing" and the then $1.2 billion price tag was grossly inflated. He said it could be done for roughly half that much. The reasons, for what amounts to gouging U.S. taxpayers, he speculated? "There's only two reasons - gross incompetence or ... corruption."