– Donald J. Trump was spurned in an offer to purchase the site of the proposed Islamic community center near New York City’s Ground Zero for the price paid plus 25 percent.
Trump’s offer is “just a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in
the limelight,” said Sharif El-Gamal, chief executive officer of Soho
Properties LLC, who signed the deed to purchase the property in July
2009. He commented in an e-mail statement.
As part of the bid, any community center built would be located at
least five blocks farther from the World Trade Center site, Trump said.
The offer was made in a letter dated today and included in a statement
received by e-mail.
“I am making this offer as a resident of New York and citizen of the
United States, not because I think the location is a spectacular one
(because it is not), but because it will end a very serious,
inflammatory, and highly divisive situation,” Trump wrote in the letter
to Hisham Elzanaty, a businessman who’s said he provided the majority
of the financing for the two buildings where the center would be built.
Trump, founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. and host of the
NBC television series “The Apprentice,” didn’t return a telephone call
and e-mail seeking further comment.
The proposed Islamic center is two blocks north of where the World
Trade Center’s twin towers were destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001,
Trump’s offer was made public shortly before Terry Jones, a pastor
from Gainesville, Florida, announced he was canceling plans to burn
copies of the Koran on Sept. 11. He said the Islamic center’s
developers agreed to discuss moving to a different location.
El-Gamal said there is no deal to relocate the center.
“It is untrue that the community center known as Park51 in lower
Manhattan is being moved,” he said in his e-mail. “The project will
proceed as planned.”More BW
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