White elephant on Turtle Bay: An update

John devoted a Daily Standard column to the hugely expensive planned renovation of the United Nations building in New York: “Trouble at Turtle Bay.” We linked to Donald Trump’s devastating testimony regarding the renovation project here. Today the New York Sun’s Meghan Clyne continues her excellent coverage of the story with an update: “U.N. now seeks sweeter deal on U.S. loan.” Clyne reports:

The Swiss representative on the [U.N. Fifth or budget] committee, Anja Zobrist Rentenaar, told The New York Sun yesterday that representatives of America’s U.N. mission informed the Fifth Committee that a new loan offer would be forthcoming. “We don’t have anything in writing,” she cautioned, saying America was suggesting the amount of the loan offer would remain constant at $1.2 billion but there would be “a new deadline and possibly lower interest.”

The only loan that I might favor to the United Nations would be for relocation to another continent, not for renovation of its New York headquarters. In any event, I wonder if any U.N. official has ever responded to Trump’s critique of the budget for renovation. According to Trump, the project should cost $500 to $600 million — “max” — rather than the $1.2 billion for which it is budgeted. Trump himself has offered to do the project for $500 million. What’s going on?
Coincidentally, the lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal bears on a related point: “Oil for food as usual.” The Journal writes:

Oil for Food is a story about what the U.N. is. And our conclusion from reading the 847-page report is that the U.N. is Oil for Food…
The program did not corrupt the U.N. so much as exploit its essential nature. Now Mr. Annan wants to use this report as an endorsement of his “reform” proposals. Only at the U.N. could he dare to think he could get away with this.

With that and, apparently, much more.


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