At this point the side door opened, and the Iranian intermediary whom I had met in New York appeared, and hurried in. He and the senate president had a conversation in Farsi, which I did not understand, and then I was hustled out of the office. After that, I never heard another word about the 52nd Street project, which was ultimately constructed by a New Jersey firm. I believe that the content of the conversation in Farsi was that the senator was informed that the extra $9 million, the difference between the $32 million and $23 million estimates, was destined for certain pockets, which I assume could well have included the senate president’s own.
After several trips to Iran, I did get to meet the shah. He was very charming. Our firm went on to do some work on the Intercontinental Hotel, but nothing else happened in Iran and we hardly got paid for the hotel work. However, I was able to secure a dozen seats for my employees on a Pan Am plane out of Tehran at a moment when Americans needed desperately to get out, during the fall of the shah and the takeover of the U.S. Embassy there in 1979.
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A major non-Rockefeller project, while we were under the Rockefeller umbrella, was a casino hotel for entrepreneur Steve Wynn.
One day in my office, I received a phone call from a private air-plane an unusual occurrence in the mid-1970s. The caller was Roger Pelton, a structural engineer from the West Coast whom I knew well. He was calling from Steve Wynn’s private plane as they winged eastward from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. Shortly, Roger turned the phone over to Wynn, who explained to me that he had taken over a small Las Vegas casino, the Golden Nugget, and was going to build a much larger one with the same name in Atlantic City. They were still in the design phase for that Atlantic City project, and Roger had argued as I would have that this was the time to bring in an experienced construction firm such as Tishman. Wynn asked if I would meet him in Atlantic City when his plane arrived in two hours.
I said I couldn’t do that, but that I would be glad to come to see him there the following morning.
I demurred; I had other appointments that afternoon but would be there early the next day, with my top executive Milt Gerstman the man who had been our executive in direct charge of the World Trade Center construction.
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