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WTC insurance funds used for food, drinks

Nov. 11, 2007 at 3:45 PM

NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Records show officials tied to the $1 billion World Trade Center insurance fund have been using that money for dinners and cocktails in New York.

Designated for Ground Zero cleanup and potential liability claims against the city, the insurance fund has been used by fund lawyers and executives to pay for a series of drinks and dinners in local establishments, the New York Post said Sunday.

Those expenditures have been criticized by U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who said the money should be focused on aiding the victims of Sept. 11.

"The captive fund was never meant to serve as an open-ended expense account for well-paid lawyers," Nadler said. "Every dime wasted is money that could, and should, have gone to those who continue to suffer because of their exposure at Ground Zero."

The Post reported that Caroline Gentile, a spokeswoman for the fund, has defended the expenditures. She said the dinner and beverage costs were legitimate business expenses and added that the fund has grown by $15 million since its inception due to interest.

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