John Liu goes to the Giuliani files to denounce a hotel deal

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Briefing: Liu. (museum of chinese in america, via flickr)
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A year after Rudy Giuliani was re-elected mayor, the owners of the Marriott Marquis approached his administration and renegotiated their lease.

Ostensibly as an incentive for the company to continue to contribute to the revitalization of Times Square, and to generate revenue for the city in the near term, the lease was cut down by 40 years and the deal included a set price for the hotel company to buy the city-owned land on which the hotel sits.

According to New York City Comptroller John Liu, the price is pennies per square foot, far below comparable rates nearby.

A spokesman for the hotel said the property is actually worth a "negative" amount of money, because of deferred rent payments.

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A spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg disparaged the audit, saying Liu is now "rummaging through Giuliani files."

A spokesman at the New York City Economic Development Corporation defended the lease, which was negotiated well before the current team was in place.

One person who may be in a position to talk about it is Joe Lhota, who was a deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration and, like Liu, is running for mayor.

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