May 11, 2013
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—Nine years after an initial groundbreaking, building and construction workers installed the final section of the 408-foot mast atop One World Trade Center on Friday morning. At midday several hundred gathered at Coenties Slip Park to hear the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, Gary LaBarbera, implore airline insurers to pay almost $2 billion in claims they promised to pay after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Watch Video
The leaseholder and developer of the new World Trade Center complex, Larry Silverstein, filed court papers in February claiming that American Airlines and its parent company had said it would not use an ‘act of war’ defense to avoid liability for the World Trade Center attack.
A spokesman for American at the time said in response to the court papers that the motion had no factual or legal support. But Silverstein’s lawyers accused American and United Continental, the two carriers whose aircraft were commandeered by terrorists and flown into the World Trade Center, of engaging in a shameful display of duplicity. They argued that the carriers benefitted from loan guarantees, insurance reimbursement and tax relief “totaling in the tens of billions of dollars.”
One of Silverstein’s lawyers, Richard A. Williamson, Partner at Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer LLP, said in the court papers that after receiving taxpayer-funded bailout the carriers reversed course.
“[They’re] asserting with breathtaking cynicism a supposed distinction—but one without a difference—between an act of war exclusion and an act of war defense.”
LaBarbera, who said that thousands of construction and permanent jobs are at stake if the almost $2 billion isn’t forthcoming to build the remaining towers, ticked off the names of the insurers, including AXA Insurance, Zurich Insurance Group, American Modern Home Insurance Group, Societe Generale Insurance, CNA Insurance and Federal Insurance Company.
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