Port Authority: WTC name sale 'shameful episode' - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Port Authority: WTC name sale 'shameful episode'

Posted: Updated:

DAVID PORTER | AP

NEW YORK (AP) — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Wednesday called a deal that sold the World Trade Center's name rights to a nonprofit organization for $10 decades ago "a shameful episode" and vowed to cooperate with an anticipated investigation by New York's attorney general.

A newspaper report this month revealed that the name rights were sold to former Port Authority executive Guy Tozzoli in his role as head of the nonprofit World Trade Centers Association, formed to promote international trade. The Port Authority, which owns the lower Manhattan land where the Twin Towers stood before Sept. 11, 2001, is among more than 300 worldwide members that pay the WTCA a fee to use the words "World Trade Center."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has criticized the deal. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has referred the matter to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to determine whether the WTCA "properly acquired from the Port Authority and developed the exclusive rights to the World Trade Center brand" and whether Tozzoli or others "improperly received the benefit of such intellectual property without right" at the expense of the Port Authority and taxpayers.

At a Port Authority board meeting on Wednesday, executive director Patrick Foye called the contract "a shameful episode," and board chairman David Samson said it appears "troubling." But neither could say with specificity who signed off on it.

The Record newspaper, of Woodland Park, N.J., reported in its initial story on the deal that a board secretary had signed off, and on Wednesday Samson said the original transaction "was approved by a prior board commissioner." Foye said it was approved by Port Authority officers but not by the full board of commissioners. Foye added that the Port Authority's executive director at the time of the deal, Stephen Berger, told him he hadn't signed off on it.

Samson said he had referred the matter to the Port Authority's audit committee and counsel.

"Just off the surface facts, this appears to be troubling," Samson said. "We're going to take a careful look at it."

The World Trade Center had been standing for more than 15 years by the time the rights were sold, and the brand already was valuable, Foye noted. Its value has grown exponentially since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The Record reported that in exchange for the Port Authority's use of the trademark on merchandise, which the newspaper estimated could bring the Port Authority up to $28 million annually, the WTCA is requesting free office space worth an estimated $585,000 per year at the rebuilt World Trade Center site.

Tozzoli died in February, and the WTCA said Wednesday that no one there was available to comment.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Joan Rivers on life support

    Joan Rivers on life support

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:03 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:03:07 GMT

    Joan Rivers' family is confirming that the comedian is on life support after going into cardiac arrest last week during a procedure at a doctor's office.

    Joan Rivers' family is confirming that the comedian is on life support after going into cardiac arrest last week during a procedure at a doctor's office.

  • Subway bedbug infestations on the rise

    Subway bedbug infestations on the rise

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:48:09 GMT
    It appears the subway bedbug problem we've been reporting is getting worse. Commuters already have to contend with sweltering platforms, scurrying rats and packed train cars, and now there's another transit woe: fear of bedbugs.
    It appears the subway bedbug problem we've been reporting is getting worse. Commuters already have to contend with sweltering platforms, scurrying rats and packed train cars, and now there's another transit woe: fear of bedbugs.
  • New MTA bus routes take effect

    New MTA bus routes take effect

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:09:54 GMT
    MTAMTA
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
  • LocalMore>>

  • Ex-fire chief in Southeast Texas accused of theft

    Ex-fire chief in Southeast Texas accused of theft

    A former volunteer fire chief in Southeast Texas has surrendered on theft-related counts after about $70,000 in department money allegedly was misspent.
    A former volunteer fire chief in Southeast Texas has surrendered on theft-related counts after about $70,000 in department money allegedly was misspent.
  • Electricity outage leads to Twitter outburst from students

    Electricity outage leads to Twitter outburst from students

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:11 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:11:01 GMT
    An electricity outage at John Foster Dulles High School in Sugar Land resulted in early dismissal for the students, but apparently not early enough based on some of their comments on Twitter.
    An electricity outage at John Foster Dulles High School in Sugar Land resulted in early dismissal for the students, but apparently not early enough based on some of their comments on Twitter.
  • Beer-hauling truck wrecks in Houston, spills cases

    Beer-hauling truck wrecks in Houston, spills cases

    A beer-hauling truck accident in Houston has left two drivers slightly hurt and a leaky mess along a highway.
    A beer-hauling truck accident in Houston has left two drivers slightly hurt and a leaky mess along a highway.
Powered by WorldNow

KRIV FOX 26
4261 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027

Phone: (713) 479-2801
Fax: (713) 479-2859

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices