UNITED NATIONS – Can Donald Trump (search) come to the rescue of the United Nations and do the job for free?
At Senate hearings this month on the proposed $1.2 billion U.N. renovation plan, Trump blasted the proposal, saying U.N. officials are willing to pay twice as much as they need to on renovating the 50-year-old landmark headquarters on Manhattan's East Side.
Trump, the real estate developer and star of the reality show "The Apprentice," told FOX News that he's offering his services to the United Nations (search) for free. He said he believes in the world body and thinks diplomats and the nations they represent are getting ripped off.
"I want to do it for nothing because the U.N. is that important," Trump told FOX News. "Work needs to be started immediately."
The New York billionaire builder wants to head up the U.N. renovation project that he says he can finish for half of what the United Nations has budgeted. Trump is very familiar with the area around the United Nations — he built a luxury condominium skyscraper, the tallest such building in New York, overlooking the U.N. headquarters.
The U.N. complex that borders the East River is falling apart. With asbestos all over the place, leaks, and decrepit heating and air conditioning, the facility doesn't even meet New York City (search) building codes.
The United Nations wants to build a new temporary headquarters nearby, move everybody out and then move them back in when the job is completed, but Trump said that's a total waste of money.
Trump told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that U.N. officials don't know what they are doing, they are naive, their plan's a disaster, and that the United Nations is being taken to the cleaners.
"The U.N. people don't know. We have major slime in New York City represented in the form of contractors. And every one of them, I guarantee you, will find their way to the U.N.," Trump said on July 21.
"You have to deal in New York City construction to see what tough people are all about, to see what tough contractors are all about, and if you haven't done it, you are just going to go to school and they are going to take you to lunch and you're just not going to even know what happened," he told lawmakers.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (search), who had surgery on his shoulder from a skiing mishap this past winter, welcomed Trump's offer. He met with Trump four years ago, a meeting Trump said was marked by Annan's disinterest in doing anything with him.
But now in the wake of the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal and other problems facing the United Nations, it seems Trump has finally found a receptive ear.
"He [Trump] came to see me some time ago, and indicated that he can do it cheaper, faster than anybody else. And I encouraged him to bid when we go out for bids. And I hope he will, because if that is the case, he would definitely be able to come up with a competent and a good bid, and probably at half the price.
"And if that's the case, I'm sure he will get the contract. And so I would encourage him to bid," Annan said Monday.
FOX News' Eric Shawn and Jonathan Wachtel contributed to this report.