Sunday, November 22, 2015

Donald Trump's Congressional Testimony on the Construction Cost Overruns of the United Nations Building, and How To Fix The Problem

People don't like Donald Trump.

There is no doubt. The man looks like a buffoon.

He is a reality television star.

He talks as if he knows everything.

He makes pronouncements like a drunk standup at a comedy club.

He is an embarrassment.

But he is not truly an idiot. He is a man of his time, of the media world, who knows how to communicate in soundbites.

He is a "Great Communicator", one who knows how to manipulate the confines of our LOL age.

He is well-aware of his buffoonish nature. He has a bitter of Shakespeare's Hal in him.

Truth is, he wouldn't be as successful as he is, if he were not able to buckle down and focus when the situation calls for it.

At a time like that, he ceases to be the buffoon.

A few years back, Trump was called to testify before Congress on the subject of the cost overruns on the reconstruction of the United Nations building.

His testimony was focused, intelligent, and concise, considering the massive amount of information and analytics he had to deal with in his testimony.

I came away convinced that Trump did not just get lucky in the business world. I also came away convinced that Trump knows how to work a room, any room. The man is a communicator, on whatever level he needs to communicate on at the time, for the specific purpose of a specific setting.

I am not predisposed to liking Trump. I do not like much of his politics. But I do like his anti-immigration stance, and his no-nonsense quality.

Oh, by the way, in his testimony, Trump noted that the cost they were projecting was $1.2 billion. Trump said he could do it for $750 million.

Trump PREDICTED that in three years, cost overruns by the company contracted would bring the project to $3 Billion.

Currently, it seems, the cost is at almost $2.6 Billion:
As of March 2014, the cost overrun was estimated at $370 million — a 19 per cent increase. Turning to the estimated final cost of the Plan, he noted its amount of $2.21 million and that 99.2 per cent of the estimated costs to completion had been expended and/or committed. Noting that the responsibilities for the post-renovation construction and close-out activities would be transferred from the Plan’s Office to the Office of Central Support Service, he sought assurances that Plan-related costs would be borne by that Office under the regular budget.
So Trump was right, even if a little off.

Read his testimony. Watch the video. Tell me what you think:


Mr. Trump. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. It is a great honor to have been invited, and if I can lend a hand, I would certainly love to do so. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ The prepared statement of Mr. Trump with attachments appears in the appendix on page 315. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have to start by saying I am a big fan, a very big fan of the United Nations and all it stands for. I cannot speak as to what has been happening over the last number of years because it certainly has not been good, but the concept of the United Nations and the fact that the United Nations is in New York is very important to me and very important to the world as far as I am concerned. So I am a big fan, such a fan in fact that at great expense I built a building across the street. It is the tallest apartment house in the world. It has been a tremendously successful building, sold out, and I am very proud of it. And if the United Nations were not there, perhaps I would not have built it in that location, so it means quite a bit to me. My involvement with the United Nations began with a letter, which I will give to the Subcommittee, from the Ambassador to the United Nations from Sweden, and it is a long letter and a very beautifully written letter, and essentially he read an article about the success of Trump World Tower, which is the building that I can show you right here, which is, as you can see, very substantially taller than the United Nations, bigger than the United Nations. And he read an article in the New York Times saying that the building cost approximately $300 million to build. So he wrote me a letter and ultimately called me and said, ``Is it possible that that building cost $300 million, because it just seems so much bigger and so much better and so much more expensive and so much more luxurious, and how could you have done that for $300 million?'' When at that time, Senator, they were talking about $1.5 billion to renovate the United Nations and this was around December 2000. I said, well, there are only two reasons, either gross incompetence or something far worse than that, and you know what the something is, and that is corruption, because there is absolutely no way that that building could have cost $1.5 billion to build. And I did a chart, and I looked at other buildings, and I heard the numbers today. I am very impressed with Mr. Burnham, but Mr. Burnham, it is not his business. Mr. Burnham is in a different business. The man he hired who has done some work, I guess, has just been on the payroll for 2 days, so perhaps he will be a great genius and he will bring down the cost to what it should be, which I think is about $700 million tops, and that is complete. But I did a little chart, and I looked at buildings that were comparable that I built, and I looked at fees also, architectural fees. The architectural fee for this building-- and you have to understand a residential luxury building is far more complex than an open-floor office building to build. It is much more. You have many more bathrooms, you have many more kitchens, you have many more rooms. It is more complex. An office building is essentially open space with subdividers. So I looked at it and I added up some of my costs, and for Trump World Tower, across the street, built not long ago, I spent approximately $258 a foot. It is the tallest residential building in the world, $258.32 a foot. I have 871,000 feet. It cost $225 million to build. Anybody that says that a building of renovation is more expensive than building a new building does not know the business ...
...because you have a frame built, you have your foundations built. You have in many cases elevators that can be reutilized in their entirety, but fixed. You have many components that can be used, and it only costs a fool more money. I did the Grand Hyatt Hotel from the old Commodore Hotel. I did Trump International Hotel and Tower from the old Gulf and Western Building at 1 Central Park West, if you remember. I did the Trump Park Avenue Building from the Delmonico Hotel. I love doing renovation because it costs you half. It does not cost you more, it costs you less if you know what you are doing. Now, if you do not know what you are doing, it can be fraught with cost overruns, etc. So I looked at a couple of other buildings, 40 Wall Street is a building which is unfortunately and sadly now the tallest building in downtown Manhattan, sadly because the World Trade Center came down. It replaced 40 Wall Street. It was actually the tallest building in the world for a period of 1 year, and then superseded by the Chrysler Building and then the Empire State Building. But downtown Manhattan, it was superseded by the World Trade Center, 40 Wall Street is approximately 72 stories tall. It was a complete gut renovation identical to what you are doing. We put all brand new windows, brand new everything in it, and I have a renovation cost of, let us say, $100 a foot if you add everything, and that would mean that your job would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of half the number that you are talking about, and even less. The way I look at it, the number that they are talking about--and I agree with Senator Sessions--is close to $600 or $700 a foot. They are not adding garages. And by the way, garages are very inexpensive to renovate, so that brings the number way down. They are not adding a lot of things that have to be added. When I went to see the Administration, and when I went to see Kofi Annan, I was actually quite excited because I thought that I could save this country, this world, everybody including myself, a lot of money just by sitting down and having a meeting. Unfortunately, as our great Senator to my right said, there was just no response. They did not really care. It got a lot of press. I walked into the room and I sat down. I felt like a head of State. I was sitting with Kofi Annan, and a door opened, and there were literally hundreds of reporters taking my picture. I said, ``What are we doing? I just want to tell you I can build a building a lot cheaper.'' And that was the end of it. I wrote letters, and you have copies of the letters.\1\ I wrote letters after the meeting. I thought the meeting went amazingly well. I was expecting a call the following day from-- whether it is Kofi Annan or his people--at that time it was a man named Conners. I met with Mr. Conners. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ The letters submitted by Mr. Trump appears in the Appendix on pages 324-332. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mr. Conners did not know the first thing about what he was doing. He did not know whether or not the curtain wall was going to be new, old, and did not even know what a curtain wall was. I said, ``What are you going to be doing with the curtain wall?'' He said, ``What is a curtain wall?'' Now, he was in charge of the project. The curtain wall is the skin of the building. I said, ``Will it be new or old?'' He said, ``I don't know.'' I said, ``Are you using New York steam or are you using a new boiler system?'' He said, ``I don't know what New York steam is.'' It is a very common form of heating in the building. He had no clue. The price, at that time, was $1.5 billion. I do not know why it came down because the world has gone up, but it came down. That was in the year approximately 2000 to 2001. So he did not have a clue. I do not know if he is still there. Perhaps he is. The one thing I found him very good at is that he did not want to lose control of this project. He was a man that absolutely wanted to keep control of the project, but he did not have even the slightest inkling of what it was all about, knew nothing about it. He then told me that he may move people out, he may not move people out. He did not know. He thought he might. He was not sure. He just did not know. So I went through a whole list of questions for him, and then I realized that the United Nations is in serious trouble, because the $1.5 billion that they were talking about, there was no way it was going to happen for that. And I say today that the $1.2 billion, which they brought down even though it is basically the same work and even though things have gotten more expensive, so I do not know why they brought it down because I do not think they brought it down for any particular reason. But the $1.2 billion, in my opinion, I will be sitting here in 3 years, and I will be saying--and I am going to predict that it will cost over $3 billion because they just do not know. I was very impressed with Mr. Burnham, but again, you have to deal in New York City construction to see what tough people are all about, to see what tough contractors are all about, and if you have not done it, you are going to go to school and they are just going to take you to lunch, and you are just not going to even know what happened. So this project at $1.2 billion, will cost in my opinion $3 billion. In my own opinion, however, in my real opinion, it should cost approximately $700 million. I have been listening to a couple of different things, first, swing space. I do not think you need swing space. First of all, what landlord in New York is going to rent space for a year and a half or 2 years? Who is going to do that? You are going to give up a building for a year and a half or 2 years and say, oh, good, you just go in, mess up my building for a short term and then move out. Nobody is going to do that unless they are totally desperate, and you do not have to be desperate in New York. It is the hottest real estate market in the world, today probably, and I am saying where are they going to find this space to start off with? It is going to be a disaster. And if you know New York City landlords, and some of you do, there is no worse human being on earth. [Laughter.] They are going to have more fun with these folks from the United Nations when it comes to signing that lease, and the United Nations, their heads will be spinning. Assuming there is honesty, their heads will be spinning. So I do not know where they are going to get the space. They are going to have to pay so much, and no landlord is going to fix the space. You know, I am listening to these people that are very naive, and I respect them, but they are very naive in this world. Now, I might be naive in their world, but in this world they are naive to think that they are going to go into a building and rent hundreds and hundreds of thousands of feet of space--if they can find such a building and I do not know of any building like that--and then they are not going to have to pay for the renovation of that space and fixing up the space for a couple years. Now, people do that but they sign 25- and 30-year leases. I do not mind going into an office building and fixing up space, but I sign a 30-year lease or a 20-year lease or at least a 15- year lease. These people are going to sign a 1-or a 2-year lease. It is ridiculous. So their concept of swing space, in my opinion, does not work from an economic--and the number of $98 million is a joke because that number will be hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in just the renovation cost alone. One of the things that I had mentioned to Kofi Annan and the whole group, when I was at the meeting, was that there was no reason to move anybody out. In New York City we have a lot of asbestos buildings, and there is a whole debate about asbestos. I mean a lot of people could say that if the World Trade Center it would not have burned down, it would not have melted. A lot of people think asbestos, a lot of people in my industry think asbestos is the greatest fire-proofing material ever made, and I can tell you that I have seen tests of asbestos versus the new material that is being used, and it is not even a contest. It is like a heavyweight champion against a lightweight from high school. But in your great wisdom you folks have said asbestos is a horrible material, so it has to be removed. Space is constantly being renovated. Asbestos is constantly being gotten rid of with tenants in possession. You sit there. They wrap it, they conceal it, they do it. There are many professional firms. They move the asbestos. Estee Lauder's company, they did it while they were in possession. I could name a hundred tenants where it has been done while they sit in their offices, literally working. Sometimes it is done over weekends. Sometimes it is done at a little different time. They take sections of offices and they do it, and the people move from that section to another section and they are inconvenienced for a day and a half. And then they rebuild the office. So the concept of moving to swing space, dealing with New York City landlords, is absolutely ridiculous. Now, you can do the entire building. You can put new skin on the building. You can put new piping, you do not have that much piping because the bathrooms are all centralized. Not every office has a bathroom. It is not like an apartment house. But you can do this entire building, like I did the Grand Hyatt Hotel. I took the old Commodore Hotel and I made it into the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street and Park Avenue. It is a great success. I have done this with many buildings. But it is not necessary to have everybody leave the building in order to rebuild a building, and you do not have to necessarily even do it at one floor at a time. You can either fix the skin or put a new skin on the building, and what you do is you do the roof first, and you seal it, and you get a 30-year guarantee. And what I do best in life is build, even better than ``The Apprentice,'' I must say. [Laughter.] The thing I do best is build. But you put a new roof, as I did with the Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt, you put a brand new 20- or 30-year roof that is a guaranteed roof, and now your roof is done, like an umbrella, and then you bring the skin down, and as you are bringing the skin down, you are taking the old skin off. So by the time--and you literally have very little gap, very little space, but you are bringing the new skin down and just think of an umbrella. You are bringing the--and you should put new skin. This skin has been up there for 60 years, it is over. You can copy the skin identically. You can copy the color of the glass identically. You can bring in all the modern technology including triple pane or double pane glass in terms of heat and cooling and everything else, but you bring the skin down and--you have scaffold--and as it is coming down, the old skin is coming off, everything is sealed up beautifully. In the meantime, inside, your pipes are going up, your asbestos is coming out, your electric is being redone. You have companies that do nothing but redo electric. Now, these are different companies. You have companies that do new electric, they would not know how to redo electric. Then you have companies that redo electric, they do not know how to do new electric. I mean it is just a specialty. But you have special people that redo apartments, which are being renovated all the time with people in possession, that redo all sorts of buildings. I just built a building on Park Avenue and 59th Street. I had tenants in possession when I did it. I mean I built a major building, essentially brand new, the old Delmonico Hotel, and I had people living in the building when I did a major $100 million job. It is a $200 million building. So the concept of moving to another location and getting everybody out of this building is absolutely asinine and will cost you so much money you are not even going to believe it, and then you are going to have to move in. Many other things. When I did the Wollman Rink, the City of New York was boggled down for a period of 7 years. They had spent $21 million. It was a tremendous embarrassment to the Koch administration. And I said, ``I would like to take over the project.'' And they said--the New York Times came out with an editorial, the New York Post came out with a great editorial, and they said, ``Let Trump do it,'' and finally the city let me do it. And I rebuilt, and believe me, I used nothing that was there before. Everything had to be gutted out because it was totally incompetently done, 7 years, $21 million. I redid it--and the Senator remembers this very well I guess--I redid it in 3 months for $1.8 million, and it opened, and I still run it today, and that was quite a while ago. This is no different, and in fact, in a certain way this is even easier. All week long you have tenants in New York renovating their space, you have buildings being renovated with what we call tenants in possession. There are tenants in possession, they are in possession of the space. Now, I listened to one thing and I have seen one thing and one number that sticks out more than all of the rest, because whether or not somebody does not know what New York steam is or what boilers and whether or not they have boiler rooms, which the people at the United Nations did not do. But the number of $44 million for an architect is one of the great numbers in the history--in fact, I think this man is a genius, whoever he may be, wherever he may be in Italy. I think he is a great genius. I would like to meet him. [Laughter.] He is without question the richest architect in the world. And as one person said, ``I think they only got $500,000.'' Another person said, ``I think they got a million dollars,'' and then changed their mind and it was $7.8 million. And then I listened to Senator Sessions, who actually did his homework, said they got paid $27 million, because you were able the check the books. So they got paid $27 million, have not done anything. They do not even have plans. Nobody even knows what they are building, and they got paid $27 million. Now, I have respect for a lot of people, and I have great respect for architects, but I am going to give you an example. The tallest residential building in the world my architect got paid approximately $1.5 million. This architect got $44 million. A building at 40 Wall Street, my architect got paid, believe me, peanuts, I think, less than $1.5 million. In Chicago, where I am building a building of 92 stories at the old Sun Times site, 2.7 million square feet, which is more than the United Nations if you add up all of the projects that they are talking about, it is larger, substantially larger. I am spending $600 million and they are saying they are going to spend $1.2 billion, so they are spending much more, and this is a 92-story building with brand new structure, brand new foundations. I am building all the roads. Mayor Daley made me build roads around the building. I had no choice. Otherwise, if you know Mayor Daley, you are not going to build the building. He is a great man but he made me do that. So all of this is $600 million, and they are spending $1.2 billion. Now, there is no way they are spending $1.2 billion, in my opinion, and based on what I have heard. When they have spent $27 million and terminated the architect, there is big trouble, because I do not think they have a new architect. So if they do not have a new architect, who is going to do the plans and who is going to do the bidding? Because in order to do a job, you have to have a complete set of plans and specs. If you do not have a complete, finished, set of plans and specs, you have nothing to bid on, there is no way you can bid. The worst thing you can do--and you said you were in the home building business for a while--the worst thing you can do, as you know, is start a job without complete plans and specs because the subcontractors will eat your lunch. So it is one of those things. So they do not even have an architect. They spent $27 million and they do not have an architect. Now, I have asked on numerous occasions, to go in and I would help them. I would love to help them. I do not want any money. I want nothing. I have made a lot of money. I do not care. I want nothing. If somebody said, what would be your dream on this site? Well, my dream is a dream that will not happen, but it is a dream that I might tell you. It is a dream to take the United Nations--the Senator over here is probably going to go crazy--move it to the World Trade Center as a brand new United Nations, sell the United Nations site--which is one of the greatest sites in the world--for much more money than the whole thing would cost--and you end up building a free United Nations at the World Trade Center, where I do not think anybody is going to want to stay anyway. I think it is going to be a very hard rent up at the World Trade Center. But let us assume that is not going to happen--not a bad idea though---- Mr. Golden. Got no problem with it. Mr. Trump. Not too bad. He has no problem. Most people do not have---- Mr. Golden. Put Kofi Annan on the top floor. [Laughter.] Mr. Trump. OK. I will not get into--I did not say that. But the fact is that the United Nations building, with all of its buildings, with its parking, should be completed--and I mean completed--at a cost of $700 million. And it is my opinion that it will not be completed for less than $3 to 3.5 billion. They do not know what they are getting into. And please remember this, as somebody that has probably built as much as anybody my age anywhere--I do not know of anybody who has built more--if you do not have a complete set of plans and specifications, there is no way you can build. And from what I understand, they do not even have an architect. One final point. They give you some nice firms, Turner and this one, and Gardiner and Theobald. The fact is that I can take those same firms and tell them the way I want it built, and those same firms will come up with prices that are half the price that they are coming up with. They are being told what to do by people who do not know what they are doing. So if I take Turner Construction, which is fine, or if I take a couple of other--and by the way, when I say ``fine'', fine but Rolls Royce. They spend money. But if I take a couple of those firms, and if I show them the right way to do it, and if I lead them down the right way--which is really what a good developer does--that number that they are coming up with will be cut in half. So that is it. Congratulations, you have yourself a mess on your hands, and it is only going to get worse. Senator Coburn. Mr. Trump, thank you very much. Let me ask you a couple of questions. Your renovation cost per square foot on an average building, and let us say with asbestos abatement, what is it, $100 or $150? Mr. Trump. I think any professional--I was speaking to somebody very professional, Richard LeFrak before. He said he just gave out an architectural contract on a million foot building for $1.5 million, not $44 million, $1.5 million, so it is the same size, $1.5 million. I would say that because of the United Nations in terms of security and some enhanced needs, let us assume it is beyond even your normal high-grade office building--which it is really not; essentially it is an office building. But let us add something for security. I would think you should easily do it for $250 a foot, easily. And that means complete. That is not adding up all of this other stuff, which by the way was not given to you. You have many things listed on that board that were not given to you. Senator Coburn. Right. When you say $250 a square foot, that is in today's dollars, so if we wait 2 years, there is going to be some price inflation in that? Mr. Trump. They do not even have an architect so how can they start sooner than that? First of all, to do a good set of plans and specs is going to take you a good year, so if you do not have an architect even hired yet because the last one ripped you off or did whatever he did--that guy is unbelievable. I mean this guy, I want to meet him. I can learn from that guy. So you have a man that got paid $27 million that you are not going to use. So now let us assume you have to start all over because no architect is going to take over somebody's plans in the middle. You just do not want to do that, OK? The other thing is, how do you hire an architect from Italy? I love Italy. I love the Italians. How do you hire an Italian architect? What happens? Every time he wants to check the building, he gets on a plane and flies for 8\1/2\ hours, and he goes to the New York City Building Department and he does not even speak English? I mean it is ridiculous. So what they have is they really have a problem and I do not see how they can ever start. Now, if you put a developer like myself or like any one of five other people--and I can only think of five--in charge of a job like that, you could have that job started immediately. You could have the asbestos removed with tenants in possession. You could have the entire building rebuilt in less than 2 years. You know, Kofi Annan asked me one question. At the time-- and I am only increasing it because of the fact that when I met him it was 4 years ago--but at the time I said I could do it I think for $400 million versus their $1.5 billion. Slightly different number, right? He said, ``What would be the difference in the building?'' I said, ``The difference would be my building would be better, be much newer, much richer.'' I was putting in all brand new marble floors on the ground--I like marble--I was putting in all brand new marble floors. They have all broken up terrazzo floors. Under their plan they were leaving these all broken floors. They are broken, old, and terrazzo is not exactly a great material, it is garbage. But I was putting in all brand new marble. I was putting in an all new curtain wall. They were going to fix their curtain wall. If you fix that curtain wall, it is a disaster. You have to put in a brand new curtain wall. You will get another 50 years. If you fix it, it is not the answer. It is going to leak, it is going to be a problem. So he asked me the question, and I said, ``The answer is it is going to be better. It will be brand new in its entirely. You will not have to move anybody out. You will not have to go and build''--at that time they were talking about, as you remember, building a new building to house the people, and they were going to--and they were actually thinking about then ripping the building down, so that is a real beauty. But they do not know what they are doing, so here I am. Senator Coburn. So if the United Nations decides to go ahead on the track that they are going now, and go out for a $1.2 billion contract, you going to go get that business? Mr. Trump. No, I am not going to get it. First of all, they do not know what they want. They do not know what they have. They have no idea what they are doing. It is a problem where you cannot bid on a job like that. And I would not bid on it anyway. I offered my services free. I wanted to save close to a billion dollars, actually $1.1 billion at the time. I wanted to save a billion dollars for the United Nations, for the world, in a sense. I wanted to do it. I liked doing the Wollman Skating Rink. I mean this is a bigger version of the Wollman Skating Rink, that is all it is to me. And I said, ``I do not want a fee, I do not want anything.'' They did not like the idea. Now, the Senator would have his own reasons. He is stronger on it than me, but they did not want the idea. Senator Coburn. Are you surprised, Senator, about that? Mr. Golden. No. I think that would be a good location, and I spoke in jest, and I apologize for the jest, but I think the downtown Manhattan would be a good site or where it presently is, and I think you could do an outstanding job. Anybody could, as long as you have accountability and you have real transparency, and you have real bids going on and real people managing these projects. Mr. Trump. I think that is not going to happen. I think it is a very interesting idea, but I think it is not going to happen. I love the idea of the downtown switch. Sell the land. You will make such a fortune on the land, etc. It is not going to happen from a practical standpoint. It should happen, but it is not going to happen. But just in terms of the renovation itself, you have to get the right architect. I mean there are architects and there are architects. You have to get the right architect, and you have to know who those architects are. I mean I can only think of five architects who would do a great job on this building. You have to know who the architects are. You have to get your plan started. You have to do it as a renovation, and the renovation should be done quickly, effectively, and in my opinion, by the end of 2007, this whole job should be complete. It can be started immediately because of the fact that you are doing it the way I am saying. Within 3 to 4 months of planning, you can start your contracts without extras. In other words, you can start what I call hard contracts, contracts without fluff and without extras. I think the entire job can be done by the end of 2007. I promise you, Senator, they will not even have the people moved out by 2007. Senator Coburn. One little follow up. They gave us $1.2 billion, $482 million going to labor and materials, and $471 million set up for contingency and professional fees. Mr. Trump. Nobody has ever heard of such a number. Senator Coburn. In your experience, when you plan a project, what do you figure for contingencies, the whole thing, the cost overrun, liability, the whole works, what do you figure? Mr. Trump. Their contingency number was what, $400 and some odd million? Senator Coburn. Yes, $471 million. Mr. Trump. Craziest number I have ever heard. My building in Chicago is $600 million. I believe we have a $30 million contingency, and of the $30 million, if I use any more than $3 or $4 million, I am going to be very angry at my people. That is a 92-story building. I have a $30 million contingency, and I do not expect to use it. I set aside $30 million. I expect that if I use more than $3 million, I am going to be a very unhappy camper. To have a $400 and some odd million contingency is totally unheard of. Senator Coburn. Thank you. Senator Dayton. Senator Dayton. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Well, you build good buildings, Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump. Thank you. Senator Dayton. I go to Napoleon's. Mr. Trump. Very good. Senator Dayton. When can you start? [Laughter.] Mr. Trump. I would like to do--it was amazing. The Swedish Ambassador just piqued my attention, and he should get a lot of the credit for this. I mean his letter is here. It is such a beautifully written letter, and it is written by a man--I do not even know him--it is written by a man of great common sense. Senator Dayton. And you met with the Secretary General 4 years ago? Mr. Trump. Four years ago. Senator Dayton. And I see here the United Nations General Assembly Capital Plan I referred to before is dated June 2000. So I mean this project now on 5 years is going nowhere. Mr. Trump. Right. I could have built it twice. Senator Dayton. How does the United Nations, or how does whoever it is, the lender if we are going to be the lender, how do you regain control of the project? Do you start with a developer? Mr. Trump. Well, actually, Mr. Burnham said, ``I would like to call you tomorrow,'' and I thought that was terrific. Honestly, I thought that was terrific. This is what I do. This is what I do the best. And I am in New York. And as the Senator said, Senator Sessions, New York is a tough place to do business. You know, I have had great success, and sometimes you take your lumps. You have to know the contractors. I know ever contractor in New York. I know the ones that are going to--I am not going to say the words, there is too many wonderful women in the room--but I know the contractors that are going to, ``take advantage of you. I know the contractors that are slow. I know the contractors that are fabulous, that do not ask for extras. I know all of them. I know the good ones and the bad ones.'' I told a friend the other day--he was doing his apartment, he told me the contractor--I said, ``Do not use them.'' This was about a year ago. He got killed by this guy. He got killed. I said, ``Use somebody else.'' He came to me the other day, he said, ``I should have taken your advice.'' The United Nations people do not know. We have major slime in New York, and much of that is in the form of contractors. Is that not a sad thing to say? And every one of them, I guarantee you, will find their way to the United Nations. [Laughter.] Senator Dayton. When would you like to take over rebuilding the Visitors Center and a few other projects? Mr. Trump. That is true, you have had your own difficulties with that. Senator Dayton. We have. But it shows the difference between someone who knows what he is doing and people who do not. Thank you very much. Mr. Trump. Thank you, sir. Senator Coburn. Senator Sessions. Senator Sessions. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for caring enough about the American taxpayers' money to have this hearing, and I think you have got something planned. Mr. Trump is a breath of fresh air for this Senate. And it ought to embarrass all of us because all of us have oversight committees that are not doing a very good job, and if we could save $1 million, Mr. Trump, that is a million dollars that can be used for good cause, and I think there is a potential to save a lot more than that. You have given us a tutorial on reconstruction and renovation and construction in big projects. I hope people were listening, and I think the main point is you have got to know what you are doing in this city and this kind of construction project or you can be taken to the cleaners. Your contributions are going to help us save money, and I believe help us have a better U.N. building, and you would not have said that if you did not believe in the institution and want it to be better, and want it to have the best building it can and the best balance sheet it can. So I just want to thank you for it, and we will note that you said it could be completed by 2007. The plans are at this date to begin moving people out by June 2007. So once again, we have longer time frames and more costs. Again, I want to thank you for your courage, your willingness to speak out on an issue that a lot of people would have avoided, but you brought your expertise to bear and I believe it will help the U.N. do a better job. Thank you very much. Mr. Trump. Thank you, sir. Senator Coburn. Mr. Trump, if someone in your organization paid twice the amount for a project than it should have cost, in two words or less, what would you say? Mr. Trump. You're fired. [Laughter.] Senator Coburn. We are dismissed. [Whereupon, at 4:42 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]


Anonymous said...

And an enviably successful 'buffoon' he is.
A chapter in Trump's book discusses the media. He understands you will never beat the ubiquitous media. Trump learned to use the media to his advantage particularly gaining useful insight from within, on their payroll, with his time on The Apprentice.
His 'buffoonery' is difficult to take seriously, but Trump has demonstrated on more than one platform that he evolves to respond successfully <50% time to any given situation.
What success rate can you give Obama? Hillary? this point in time, I personally can be satisfied with either a Cruz or Trump candidacy.

Bruce Hall said...

Either the word scrambler was operating at 100% or this is most disjointed testimony in the history of this country. I'm thinking the former.

Bruce Hall said...

Yes, your post went through the word scrambler. You can see the actual, coherent testimony here:

Pastorius said...

Well, I don't understand. That's where I got it from. The link is in the body of my post.


Watch the video. That's not scrambled.

Pastorius said...

I just fixed it, I believe.

Does it look ok on your end?

Bruce Hall said...

Reads correctly now.

Would suggest a left justification for easier reading, but the message is readable.