Sheer malice 195

The would-be builders of the mosque and community-center next to Ground Zero do not own all of the site they want to develop.

Half of it is owned by Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (“Con Ed”), a company that provides electric, gas, and steam service in New York City.

Apparently neither Community Board 1, which approved the plans for the mosque, nor the Muslim developers themselves knew this.

From the New York Post:

“We never heard anything about Con Ed whatsoever,” said a stunned Julie Menin, the chairwoman of Community Board 1, which passed a May resolution supporting the mosque.

Daisy Khan, one of the mosque’s organizers [and wife of its imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf], told The Post last week that both buildings on Park Place are needed to house the worship and cultural center. But she claimed ignorance about the Con Ed ownership of 49-51 Park Place and referred questions to Soho Properties, which bought the building at 45-47 Park Place in 2009.

Rep. Peter King, who opposes the mosque, said the developers seemed to be “operating under false pretenses.”

“I wonder what else they are hiding,” said King (R-LI). “If we can’t have the full truth on this, what can we believe?”

Any hope that Con Ed will refuse to sell – a refusal that could scuttle the offensive project – would be misplaced. Their site, 49-51 Park Place, “is being appraised for a possible sale to Soho Properties, the developer behind the controversial mosque.”

However, the Public Service Commission would have to approve the sale. It’s a five-member board, controlled by Governor Paterson.

Governor Paterson seems to be more aware than Mayor Bloomberg that a huge mosque built on the edge of Ground Zero will offend millions of Americans. He has offered state help for the Muslim project if the developers will consent to building their mosque and community-center elsewhere:

“It does seem to ignite an immense amount of anxiety among the citizens of New York and people everywhere, and I think not without cause,” Paterson said in a news conference in Manhattan.

But the offer left the developers and Mayor Bloomberg cold:

The developers declined to comment. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who last week made an impassioned defense of the project planned for lower Manhattan, declined to comment through a spokesman.

So it seems that the important thing for the Muslim developers is to build on the site next to Ground Zero.

Why is Mayor Bloomberg so keen that the mosque projects should go ahead?

Kathy Barkulis at Front Page suggests why:

Mayor Bloomberg’s strident support of building a mosque at Ground Zero made me think that he had to make nice with the Saudi’s for monetary purposes. In my mind there could be no other reason for Bloomberg to take such a stand as the Mayor of New York City. …

I don’t know what’s in Mayor Bloomberg’s heart, but I’ll take an educated guess. His vast empire depends on current and future financial dealings with Saudi Arabia. It is in his best interest to make nice with them. … Bloomberg can score big personally by staying in favor with the Saudis.

So the plan to build the mosque, plainly motivated to start with by nothing better than sheer malice, will almost certainly be carried out.