World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein was dealt another legal setback yesterday. A Manhattan jury ruled that the largest insurer of the Trade Center complex — Swiss Re — was operating under contractual language that limits Silverstein’s recovery to one, not two, payouts. Silverstein maintains that the 9/11 attacks represented two separate events, thus two payouts.
As a result of the ruling, Swiss Re will pay Silverstein roughly $877 million — equal to about one-quarter of Silverstein’s total policy. If the jury had found that the attacks represented two events, Silverstein would have received a $1.7 billion payout.
"A defeat in the courtroom is not a defeat for rebuilding," Silverstein said in a statement Monday. "Whatever happens in court, we are determined to rebuild the World Trade Center, under [New York] Gov. [George] Pataki's leadership and in keeping with the master plan."
Still, it won’t be as easy for Silverstein to rebuild the complex without the much-needed insurance proceeds. He will likely be forced to do something that most developers have to do — convince a lender to finance part of this multi-billion dollar project.