Image: Donald Trump
Molly Riley  /  Reuters file
Donald Trump pauses during a U.S. Senate hearing last week on the renovation of the U.N. headquarters in New York.
updated 7/26/2005 4:25:37 PM ET 2005-07-26T20:25:37

Real estate mogul Donald Trump should bid on a United Nations renovation contract if he thinks he can do the job cheaper and better than anyone else, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said.

Trump told a U.S. Senate hearing last week that the United Nations would commit a boondoggle of immense proportions if it goes ahead with its plan to renovate the outdated United Nations secretariat, a project it says will cost about $1 billion.

Trump predicted that if the U.N. continues with its proposal, the cost will balloon to $3 billion. And he argued that he could do the job for $700 million.

"If that's the case I'm sure he will get the contract and so I would encourage him to bid," Annan said Monday.

U.N. officials say their plan for the renovation is sound and express skepticism at Trump's claims.

Christopher Burnham, a former Department of State official recently appointed to oversee the building project as the U.N.'s undersecretary-general for management, told the same Senate hearing the United Nations would run "a lean, mean operation."

The 38-story U.N. headquarters is dangerously out of date. It has no sprinkler system, is packed with asbestos, and loses about 25 percent of the heat pumped into it in the winter.

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