A Manhattan judge has dismissed a lawsuit by former New York City firefighter Timothy Brown who is trying to halt the construction of the Park51 Islamic community center near Ground Zero by overturning a decision by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to deny landmark status to a 150-year-old Building On The Park Place site.
According to the New York Times, it could prove to be the last legal challenge to the project.
The building, damaged in the attacks of Sept. 11, was once home to a Burlington Coat Factory store.
Justice Paul Feinman termed Brown “an individual with a strong interest in preservation of the building,” but failed to see that he had any special legal standing in the case.
Sharif El-Gamal, the center’s developer, admitted that despite the legal victory, the center faces other issues. Gamal has not yet raised a the $100 million necessary for construction.
Adam Leitman Bailey, who represented Gamal in the case, called the decision “a victory for America.” He said: “Despite the tempest of religious hatred, the judge flexed our Constitution’s muscles enforcing the very bedrock of our democracy.” [NYT]