The Real Deal New York

Developer Sharif El-Gamal faces criticism over Park51 rent

The builder charged his own struggling nonprofit $30K in 2012

March 09, 2014 02:00PM

From left: Sharif El-Gamal and 51 Park Place

WEEKENDEDITION Sharif El-Gamal, the developer behind the controversial “Ground Zero mosque,” is facing criticism for charging his own nonprofit rent.

In 2012, El-Gamal charged Park51, the Islamic community center and prayer space near Ground Zero, $30,000, even though the organization would ended the year with a deficit of $34,120, according to the New York Post.

The group, which El-Gamal helped found, took in $107,900 in 2012, but spent $142,020, including $72,121 on salaries. In total the organization spent just $6,468 on program expenses.

“The nominal fee paid by Park51 does not begin to cover the upkeep and associated costs of owning the building, which are over $1 million a year, let alone the market value,” Hank Sheinkopf, a lobbyist and Democratic strategist who is now acting as a spokesman for Park51, told the Post.

However, El-Gamal has recently been stuck in a legal battle with ConEdison over back rent at the utility-owned building. One of El-Gamal’s real estate companies leases the building from ConEdison. [NYP]Christopher Cameron

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