Monday, August 30, 2010

"The mosque developers are tax deadbeats," to the tune of $224,270.77

Jihad Watch

Remember, this group could qualify for taxpayer-supported public financing. Looks like they need to pony up a little taxpayer support of their own.

Still more on this story. "Mosque big owes 224G tax," by Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein for the New York Post, August 29 (thanks to all who sent this in): The mosque developers are tax deadbeats.

Sharif El-Gamal, the leading organizer behind the mosque and community center near Ground Zero, owes $224,270.77 in back property tax on the site, city records show.

El-Gamal's company, 45 Park Place Partners, failed to pay its half-yearly bills in January and July, according to the city Finance Department.

The delinquency is a possible violation of El-Gamal's lease with Con Edison, which owns half of the proposed building site on Park Place. El-Gamal owns the other half but must pay taxes on the entire parcel.

The lease agreement, obtained by The Post, specifies that El-Gamal's company pay taxes on the property and submit receipts to Con Ed.

The utility said it would have to review any possible lease violations.

The late taxes are the latest wrinkle in the controversial plan to put the 15-story mosque near the World Trade Center site.

Before any building can go forward, the developers also must get approval from the MTA because the 2 and 3 subway lines run under a portion of the Park Place property, The Post has learned.

El-Gamal's spokesperson insisted to The Post that the taxes had been paid and that the "subway lines do not pose a problem."

El-Gamal plans to tear down the two buildings on the Park Place site, which housed a Burlington Coat Factory store but have been empty since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when one was damaged.

The Post revealed this month that El-Gamal owned only half the site. Gamal purchased the lease to the Con Ed property for $700,000 last year when he bought the other building on the site for $4.8 million.

He has told Con Ed he wants to buy the building at 49-51 Park Place, which Con Ed is appraising to determine fair market value.

El-Gamal insisted to The Post that the lease permitted him to demolish the property at any time.

But the lease agreement says El-Gamal must provide Con Ed with a copy of a financing commitment or other proof that money is available to "cover the estimated cost of demolition of the building and construction of the new building."

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