Homeless Man Finds Freedom Tower Plans in Trash Can

Fri April 25, 2008 - Northeast Edition

NEW YORK (AP) The government agency building a 102-story skyscraper at the World Trade Center site is investigating the discovery of two sets of blueprints for the building that a homeless man said he found in the trash.

The schematic documents for the Freedom Tower, under construction at ground zero, were marked “Secure Document — Confidential,’’ the New York Post reported April 18.

The documents, dated Oct. 5, 2007, contain plans for each floor, the thickness of the concrete-core wall, and the location of air ducts, elevators, electrical systems and support columns, the Post reported.

Michael Fleming told the newspaper he found the documents on top of a public trash can in downtown Manhattan, with written warnings on it to “properly destroy if discarded.’’

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owned the World Trade Center and is building the 1,776-ft. (540 m) Freedom Tower, has protocols requiring contractors and architects with secure and nonsecure documents to shred them, spokeswoman Candace McAdams said.

The agency’s inspector general is investigating the disposal of the documents, which McAdams said are bidding documents given out to contractors, agency staff and selected companies bidding on work.

Mishandling the blueprints would be “cause for serious disciplinary action — up to termination for employees and breach of contract and legal action for contractors,’’ she said, although she added the plans have been updated many times since October.

City police were not investigating the disposal; Tishman Construction Corp., the main contractor building the tower, declined to comment. A spokesman for the building’s architect, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, did not return a message seeking comment.