How much was the World Trade Center's brand worth to the Port Authority? $10. According to a report in The Record, the Port Authority sold the rights to five "World Trade Center" trademarks to a non-profit group created in part by a man who was instrumental in the construction of the Twin Towers.
The report states that in 1986, the Port Authority quietly sold the rights to use the WTC name to the World Trade Centers Association, who was then headed by Guy Tozzoli, the former director of the World Trade Department at the Port Authority.
Tozzoli, who died in January at the age of 90, is credited with helping choose the Twin Towers' architect and building the Windows on the World. In the late '70s he also was criticized for taking lavish trips around the world with his wife that were paid for by the PA. “Never have I put a penny in my pocket," Tozzoli said at the time, rebuffing the accusations of impropriety.
The licensing deals the WTCA would capture later made Tozzoli millions. The Record reports that in 2011, Tozzoli's last year leading the WTCA, he took a salary of $626,000 for working an average of one hour a week.
A video promoting the WTCA features the director of the WTC of Nigeria explaining how 9/11 has helped the profile of the WTC brand:
“Certainly 9/11 has ironically raised the profile of the name such that you don’t really have to explain the name anymore. You may still have to explain in a little more depth what it actually does, but at least the name is pretty much in everyone’s mind’s eye.”
The deputy executive director of the Port Authority, Bill Baroni, said he was "gravely concerned" about the findings of the report, and would investigate the WTCA, which has asked the Port Authority for free office space in 1 WTC worth $585K annually in exchange for allowing the authority to use its trademark on merchandise.
In the video, Tozzoli says, “A World Trade Center is a physical facility with a purpose, a very specific purpose, and that is, to create a marketplace for those people who engage in international business or service international business.” Sounds about right.