ACLJ Seeks Injunction to Halt Ground Zero Mosque in NYC
WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents a New York City firefighter who survived the 9-11 terrorist attacks and has filed a lawsuit to stop the Ground Zero Mosque, is asking a court to enjoin the mosque's developers from performing any demolition or construction at the site and is moving for court-ordered discovery in the case.
Today's filing comes just weeks after Mayor Bloomberg's Office released just a portion of documents in response to the ACLJ's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request - documents that the ACLJ contends validates the substance of its suit and reveals an inappropriate involvement between the Mayor's Office and developers of the mosque – while acknowledging that it was not releasing all documents responsive to the ACLJ's request.
"There is a disturbing pattern of stonewalling by the City and Mayor's Office in providing information about what's clearly been a politically tainted process from day one," said Brett Joshpe, ACLJ Counsel. "The limited release of documents by the Mayor's Office underscores our concerns. With developers moving forward with their plans and the continued lack of response by the City, we're seeking an injunction from the court to halt the destruction of any of the buildings at issue in the case."
The ACLJ's lawsuit names New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), the New York City Department of Buildings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the mosque's developers. In its affirmation to the court filed today, the ACLJ cites the Respondents' failure to answer its petition in a timely manner. It also cites two complaints to the Department of Buildings noting unauthorized work without proper permits at the mosque site and the developers' application for $5 million in public funding through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation as an indication that project is moving forward.
The ACLJ's lawsuit alleges that the LPC abused its discretion and acted arbitrarily in its deliberations last summer about whether to landmark a building that was damaged on 9-11 and which would need to be demolished to develop the Ground Zero Mosque.
In responding to our FOIL request, the Mayor's Office released limited communications two days before Christmas - documentation that reveals that City Hall had direct communications with the mosque's developers, explicitly tried to assist with the political process, and was involved with discussions between the developers and the Community Board 1. An email from the developers' attorney, Shelly Friedman, also acknowledged that Robert Tierney, the Chairman of the LPC, was seeking "political cover" from politicians in order not to landmark the building.
The ACLJ represents Tim Brown, a firefighter and first responder, who survived the Twin Towers' collapse and lost nearly 100 friends.
The ACLJ also has heard from thousands of Americans who have signed on to the Committee to Stop the Ground Zero Mosque.
The affirmation filed today is posted here.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C. The ACLJ is online at www.aclj.org.
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SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice