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Monday, December 20, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque Greenmail Continues

The publicity-seeking front men for the "Ground Zero" mosque (also known as Park51 and the Cordova Institute) on New York City's Park Place (about 400 feet from Ground Zero) continue to insist they are not moving anywhere and are not amenable to moving to another site.
Crime, Politics and Policy maintains its theory: The backers only want to sell the property (they own 47 Park and have an option to buy 45 Park but that sale requires state utilities commission approval) and are using the mosque controversy to generate a "white knight" buyer who will cash them out to "save" Ground Zero.
The backers likely do not have the financial resources to do anything with the property.  The owner, Soho Properties LLC, bought 47 Park in 2009 but has done virtually nothing to renovate or improve the property or to negotiate a purchase price on the adjoining plot.  Meanwhile, the mosque's purported imam, Abdul Rauf, has been revealed in numerous press reports and court filings to be an alleged slumlord with his apartment buildings in Union City, NJ. (See the Crime, Politics and Policy archives for prior reports.)  Soho Properties has also been reported to have applied for federal government 9/11 reconstruction funds.  This is an indication that conventional bank financing, as well as the feared foreign investment, for the Cordova project has not been forthcoming.
Crime, Politics and Policy continues to argue that the unusually favorable treatment accorded this developer and development by the City of New York raises First Amendment Establishment Clause concerns and may thus be challengable in federal court.
Eric Dixon is a New York investigative lawyer and strategic analyst.  He is available for comment or consultation at 917-696-2442.

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