“This is a conflict between the construction trade unions and Mr. Forkosh, who is using non-union labor; NYU is merely being used as a political football in this contest.
“When New York University develops its own properties, it always requires its contractors to use union labor. We do not own the former Sahara Hotel property; we are not developing it; we are not building it; this building is not being built for us. We have a contract to lease the building from Mr. Forkosh.
“When we signed the lease we assumed that Mr. Forkosh would use union labor. Virtually every major building in New York City is built with union labor; it is exceedingly rare that they are not. It never came into our mind that he might use non-union labor. We have said publicly and to him that we are distressed that he is using non-union labor and that we would prefer him to do it the NYU way: using union labor.
“But Mr. Forkosh is not building this building for New York University. He is constructing a building, and we have signed a contract to rent it from him for up to ten years. The University will be a tenant, and I think any reasonable New Yorker will understand that, as a tenant, our power to insist on how Mr. Forkosh should construct the building is limited.
“NYU has a mix of student residences: some we built, some we bought, some we rent. This was the first time we leased a building that had yet to be developed, so there was simply not a lot of precedent. But as a result of this episode, we have set in place a policy that in the future the University will not enter into leases for properties being developed with non-union labor.
“In any case, these parties should solve the dispute between themselves and stop trying to drag NYU into the middle.”
For further comment about this matter and Forkosh Construction, reporters should contact Jim Capalino, Mr. Forkosh’s spokesman, at 824-3010.