updated 2/25/2004 9:40:06 AM ET 2004-02-25T14:40:06

World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein has already spent about $1.3 billion of the insurance money he received to cover the destruction of the trade center complex, according to a published report.

At least $623.7 million in business interruption insurance has gone toward Silverstein's debt service, legal fees and lease payments to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing court documents and people familiar with the situation.

That includes about $100 million paid to the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which is representing Silverstein in a legal battle against his insurers, the Journal said.

An additional $703 million went to buy out Silverstein's lender, GMAC; the retail leaseholder for the trade center, Westfield Properties; and Westfield's lender, UBS, the Journal said.

The Journal said about $700 million of the $1.3 billion could be recouped if leasing rights to the retail part of the complex were resold or if new financing were obtained.

The total amount of insurance money that Silverstein will receive is in dispute; he and the Port Authority have sought to force his insurers to pay $7 billion, twice the $3.5 billion face value of the policy for the trade center.

Silverstein contends that the two planes that flew into the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, should be defined for insurance purposes as two events.

Rebuilding the office and retail space at ground zero could cost as much as $9 billion.

A spokesman for Silverstein declined comment, citing the pending court case, the Journal said.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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