The dark cloud hanging over plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero just got a bit murkier as the developers were exposed by the New York Post as fraudulently representing ownership of all of the buildings at the location site.
The Post reported one of the two buildings on Park Place, where the mosque is planned to be built, is owned by Con Edison, even though Soho Properties told officials and the public that it owns the entire parcel. Any potential sale by Con Ed faces a review by the state Public Service Commission.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told HUMAN EVENTS that this goes to the very heart of the credibility of the land developers.
“This whole question has been around for months. During that entire time the developer said that they owned the entire property. Now it turns out that they don’t own half of it,” King said in an interview Monday. “When they tell us that the funding for the project is going to be fine but they won’t tell us what it is, they also told us that they owned the property but they didn’t. To me it’s just another question that goes to their credibility, goes to their integrity and goes to the whole issue of what else they could be hiding.”
When asked if the developers intentionally misrepresented their ownership, King said there are many stages to the approval process where, at best, they withheld information.
“I don’t know what else to think,” King told HUMAN EVENTS. “There’re different levels. One, they obviously had to file paperwork which they put down wrong information. Secondly, how many interviews and discussions have they gone through where they’ve misrepresented this?”
“To me, the issue becomes what else are they withholding?” King added.
The mosque developers hold a lease on the building owned by Con Ed, part of the property required to house the enormous mosque.
“Con Ed owns the building but the developers have a long-term lease on the property,” King said. “I’ve heard that there was an option to purchase it, but that’s if they can work out an agreement. But that process has barely begun, apparently. Even at that stage, the entire deal would have to be approved by the entire Public Service Commission because Con Edison is a public utility.”
King also pointed out this makes the mosque at Ground Zero a much larger issue in New York’s gubernatorial race.
“Right now and for the next few months it gives us the opportunity to raise more political issues—political in the best sense of the word,” King said. “This will focus public concern on it but also the new governor is going to appoint commissioners to the Public Service Commission. This should be out there in the gubernatorial campaign.”
“Are you going to appoint commissioners who are going to allow this sale to go through?” King said New York voters should be asking of their candidate.