Governor Pataki has named his chief of staff and avowed Developer Larry Silverstein nemisis John Cahill as the new Downtown Development Czar.
According to the press release:
The Governor named new hands-on leadership to ensure the rebuilding efforts reach critical milestones. He called upon his top advisor, John Cahill, to lead and coordinate the efforts of the LMDC, Port Authority, Empire State Development Corporation, Department of Transportation, and the Battery Park City Authority and serve as point person on the negotiations with NYPD, Silverstein Properties, Goldman Sachs, and the City of New York. Many of John Cahill’s day-to-day responsibilities will be assumed by First Deputy Secretary to the Governor William Howard and Senior Policy Advisor Jeffrey Lovell.
New York Magazine in April had a profile on Silverstein entitled “Who Wants to Move Downtown?” The article notes:
There was another reason to marginalize Silverstein—he and Pataki weren’t exactly friends. It didn’t help that he supported Mario Cuomo in the 1994 election that had brought Pataki into office. It also didn’t help that Silverstein was pushy. “Generally speaking, everybody found him impossible and full of shit,” says one lawyer close to the interaction between the governor and Silverstein, adding that LMDC president Kevin Rampe, then–Port Authority chief Joe Seymour, and Pataki chief of staff John Cahill “all hated him.” Rampe denies this, Seymour declined to comment, and Cahill, with a noticeable lack of warmth, says, “Larry’s a very ambitious, aggressive developer. And that’s why he’s been successful.”
Before the speech was even given the NY Times quoted people both praising and criticizing the decision.
A spokesman for Goldman Sachs expressed pleasure. “We have had an excellent relationship with John Cahill,” the spokesman, Peter Rose, said. “We think he is the right person to provide leadership to bring the variegated parts of downtown together.”
Mr. Pataki’s speech will likely be greeted with some relief as well as skepticism, given that some three and a half years have passed since the trade center attacks. “Timetables and speeches haven’t gotten us anywhere so far,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was briefed on the plan last night.
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