Mosque leaders under fire for alleged back taxes, tenant complaints

August 30, 2010 10:00AM

The proposed mosque site on Park Place

The leaders of the controversial mosque project near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan are coming under fire for more than just the project’s location. Sharif El-Gamal, the developer behind Park51, the planned Islamic community center on the site of the former Burlington Coat Factory, owes $224,270.77 in back property taxes on the site, according to city records. The Post reported that the bills were due in January and July, but El-Gamal’s company, 45 Park Place Partners, failed to pay up. The developer, who insisted that the taxes have been paid, owns half the site and has a long-term lease from Con Edison on the other half. The lease agreement states that the developer must pay taxes on the entire property. Meanwhile, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the religious leader of the planned mosque, is being called a slumlord by tenants in his New Jersey apartment buildings, according to the Post. Rauf reportedly received public funding to renovate low-income apartment houses in Union City and Palisades Park, but has since allowed poor conditions to fester at the buildings. Among their complaints are bedbugs and roaches, which Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, have allegedly ignored. [Post] and [Post]