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  • Easy Come, Easy Go

    Posted by Ginny on July 23rd, 2005 (All posts by )

    Corruption, bid-rigging and plain inefficiency are not foreign concepts – they are, indeed, true to human nature (and were as true in villages on the plains as in New York high rises). Still, villages on the plains never had the UN’s budget nor resources. Hinderaker gives background on the UN renovations. Of course, we are not surprised; the UN is not great at transparency. And projects like these are seductive if your conscience is unbothered about using other people’s (indeed, other nation’s) money. Trump is probably a good deal more careful than would be the average bureaucrat; he has had enough experience to know where such projects can come to grief. His testimony is quite specific in comparing his building costs with the UN’s projections.

    A brief USA Today report notes: “Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who led the hearing, criticized the cost of the project and contended the United Nations was reluctant to disclose details.” Trump & Coburn may not be reliable (I don’t know & Trump obviously has his own ambitions); nonetheless, I do know that they are describing a human tendency that transparency and specificity in government projects are designed to control. And these are human tendencies to which the UN has not appeared immune.

    The Donald argues:

    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 dollars. And it’s my opinion that it will not be completed for less than three to three and a half billion dollars. They don’t know what they’re getting into. And please remember this, as somebody that’s probably built as much as anybody my age anywhere. I don’t know of anybody that’s built more. If you don’t have a complete set of plans and specifications, there is no way you can build. And from what I understand, they don’t even have an architect.

    Not, as he points out, that they haven’t paid an architect.

    Diversions:
    Googling I found a suggestion that would help the UN more truly appreciate the beauties of heat and humidity; it might then lead to further wetlands preservation of the kind Incognito & Jonathan admire. Then, I would expect the UN would become sensitive to the damage air conditioning does the environment and ban it from all their buildings.

    Which is more environmentally friendly – the renovations in the UN or Bush’s Crawford ranch?

     

    8 Responses to “Easy Come, Easy Go”

    1. James R. Rummel Says:

      Good post, Ginny.

      James

    2. Bruce Chang Says:

      Good scoop, Ginny.

    3. Lex Says:

      The entire testimony from Trump is interesting, as an insight into the mind of a big-time property developer, and completely convincing as the UN building in New York. He shows that the UN is either totally inept, corrupt, or both. Probably both. He also convincingly argues that the UN is going end up paying between four and five times as much as they ought to do.

    4. Ginny Says:

      Why, for instance, would you pay an architect $27 million when either you can’t use or he hasn’t produced plans? And the waffling – apparently Sessions is the only one who pinned it down, no one at the UN did – about that amount is telling.

    5. incognito Says:

      Thank you Ginny, excellent sound bite indeed. For those who haven’t, I highly recommend actually listening vs reading Trump’s testimony. The nuances come across vividly.

    6. incognito Says:

      *swamp* preservation Ginny, not *wetlands*, *swamps* = )

    7. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      A rather devastating bit of testimony, especially coming from one who knows so much about his subject. Not a pretty picture he paints. Of course, nothing the UN touches ever seems to fit into the ‘pretty picture’ frame.

    8. thibaud Says:

      Someone has the Trump card. At the time of Hinderaker’s account, The Donald estimated he could do the job for five hundred mil (vs an estimate of 1.2B per Kofi’s Klowns).

      Somehow, a few months later, these estimates had been revised upward to seven hundred mil for The Donald and 1.5B for Kofi and Ko. — the latter increased by twenty percent, while The Donald increased his (already very high) estimate by forty percent. As the Russian bandits say, “Ochen’ khidrii, Donchik.”