NY investigating secret $10 deal that sold WTC naming rights

Governor Andrew Cuomo. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Image News
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the World Trade Center belongs to the public. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Image News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked the state attorney general to investigate a shady 1986 deal that sold the rights to the World Trade Center’s name to a nonprofit, which then profited enormously from the brand.

In the secretive acquisition, the World Trade Centers Association bought the exclusive rights to the name from the Port Authority for just $10. In the intervening years, the association, headed by former Port Authority executive Guy Tozzoli, has earned tens millions of dollars off the naming rights. Tozzoli, who died in February, made millions during his nearly 30-year tenure at the WTCA.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been tasked with determining whether the deal was illegal and whether Tozzoli and other officials received improper compensation that should have gone to the Port Authority and to taxpayers.

“The World Trade Center has become a public symbol of our city, state and nation, and it is troubling that an organization has made millions of dollars off the sale of what in essence belongs to the public,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The governor added that if any wrongdoing was uncovered, he and the attorney general would, “if appropriate, seek to recoup the value of the World Trade Center name for New Yorkers.”


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