New York Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Attempting To Block So-Called “Ground Zero Mosque”
It’s been awhile since the Park51 project has been in the news, but today a New York State Judge finally dismissed a lawsuit that had been filed last year in an effort to block construction of the community center:
A lawsuit seeking to halt the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero has been junked by a Manhattan judge.
Supreme Court Justice Paul Feinman dismissed a suit filed by Firefighter Timothy Brown with the backing of the American Center for Law & Justice, a Washington conservative group.
Feinman ruled that Brown didn’t have a leg to stand on legally in his suit that challenged the city’s refusal to grant landmark status to 45-47 Park Place, a building several blocks from Ground Zero that once housed a Burlington Coat Factory.
“While the court does not question the sincerity of Mr. Brown’s belief that he is an appropriate representative of the many first responders who heroically responded to aid the victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, he does not, as a matter of law, satisfy the legal test for standing to challenge [the Landmark Preservation Commission’s] determination to deny 45-47 Park Place landmark status,” Feinman wrote in a 15-page decision.
The suit was seeking to overturn the commission’s rejection last August for granting landmark status to the 152-year-old Italian palazzo-style warehouse. Brown’s lawyers argued that the building was a monument to 9/11 because it had been pelted with parts from airplanes that flew into the Twin Towers.
City lawyers countered that 56 other buildings had been showered with debris from the doomed planes, and that no one was fighting to landmark those buildings.
As for the project itself, the developer says it’s still moving forward:
Contrary to some confusing statements reported in the press, Park51 will not move its location. It has taken us nine years to find and purchase this unique piece of real estate, and we have worked hard to win approval from Community Board 1.
More importantly, we believe it violates American values to essentially declare what would be a Muslim-free zone here or anywhere else in the country.
Despite enormous challenges, Park51 has made extraordinary strides since we purchased the land roughly a year and a half ago.
We have applied for our nonprofit status with the IRS. We have been approved to function as a charity by the state attorney general’s office. We have developed preliminary architectural designs. We have conducted market research. We have formulated programming and launched a website. We currently have a founder’s board and will be expanding this in the coming months
We will soon hire senior executives, start interim programming within the temporary space, and launch a fund-raising campaign.
As we speak, my investors and I are aggressively moving to secure financing, both private and public. It will take time, as any major construction project does – just look at the World Trade Center site.
But Park51 has pledged that our financing will be made public, that we will not take any funds from entities or governments hostile to America. We will work with the relevant government agencies to make sure all our funding is vetted and approved.
Isn’t it about time for this non-troversy to be shamelessly exploited by people running for President?