T Nation

Trump Offers to Buy Out Investor at Ground Zero Mosque Site...



By DAVID B. CARUSO (AP) â?? 34 minutes ago

NEW YORK â?? Donald Trump is offering to buy out one of the major investors in the real estate partnership that controls the site near ground zero where a Muslim group wants to build a 13-story Islamic center and mosque.

In a letter released Thursday by Trump's publicist, the real estate investor told Hisham Elzanaty that he would buy his stake in the lower Manhattan building for 25 percent more than whatever he paid.

"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 that is destined, in my opinion, to only get worse," the letter said.

Trump also attached a condition to his offer: He said that as part of the deal, the backers of the mosque project would need to promise that any new mosque they constructed would be at least five blocks farther away from the World Trade Center site.

The current planned location is just two blocks north of the site. Opponents argue it's insensitive to families and memories of Sept. 11 victims to build a mosque so close to where Islamic extremists flew planes into the World Trade Center and killed nearly 2,800 people, while proponents support the project as a reflection of religious freedom and diversity.

It's unclear how much control Elzanaty has over the property, which is owned by an eight-member investment group led by Soho Properties.

A spokesman for Soho Properties general manager Sharif El-Gamal and his nonprofit group, Park51, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. Earlier in the day, the organization sent a statement to The Associated Press affirming that Soho Properties controlled the real estate and that Elzanaty was one of several investors.

El-Gamal and other people associated with the Islamic center have refused to detail the ownership structure of the real estate partnership that holds the site.

Elzanaty's lawyer did not immediately return a phone message Thursday. But in a pair of interviews with the AP this week, Elzanaty said he had invested in the site with an intention of making a profit and was willing to sell some of it for private development. He also said he supported building a mosque on at least part of the property.


Fucking love Donald Trump. This just adds to it.





I have been saying this from the start. If Americans are so pissed about Park51 building a Mosque there, why do they not buy it themselves?


Would it be safe to conclude that since the offer was declined one can assume that their intentions for building this mosque aren't honorable?


What could be more honorable and American than trying to make a profit?


Not necessarily. Maybe they don't want to give in to public pressure. Maybe they feel that there is nothing wrong with building an Islamic Community centre there and that by accepting such an offer they would proving the naysayers right. It could be the principle.

And of course, your conclusion could be right also.


That's true, but Trump offered to up the ante by 25%, which represents sizeable immediate gains. I dunno, seems like a bad business move to decline if we're just talking business (but we aren't, are we?).


Holy Chris Christie! David Caruso writes for the Associated Press?


I think the offer from Trump is a great one. If the mosque-builders really do have good intentions and this isn't some sort of snub at the victims of 9/11 by some real assholes, then they ostensibly must have some sort of community betterment in mind.

The mosque to them represents some sort of improvement in the community because it is a place of worship, but if the community is really of any importance to the mosque-builders, then the overwhelming negative response they have been receiving should let them know that the community is not happy about it. They should back out and find another place to build it no matter what if they have any sort of respect for the people living in the community around the proposed mosque. It isn't impossible to find another locale. Hard? Sure, but not impossible, which means to me that their right to freedom of religion isn't being infringed upon.

They are perfectly free to celebrate their religion right at Ground Zero if they want. No one is stopping them or making it illegal for them to be a Muslim and celebrate accordingly; they just can't build a mosque there. At some point the concern and wishes of the community must have some sort of say in the matter as well. Given that mosques can be built any number of other places but only one location really has significance to 9/11, the location should be preserved to meet the wishes of many rather than the wishes of a few.


The investor says the property is worth considerably more and that Trump knows this.


I've followed Trumps career for the past 25 years and I've never seen him pay full price for anything. I'd be willing to bet he buys his socks half off at Walmart. Of course he sends someone else to make the purchase.


Maybe true, but then why did the original investor buy in at such a low cost? Also, Trump is a businessman as well and if we're talking capitalism then he's acting perfectly honorably to try and make a profit himself, as you put it. What could be more honorable than an American trying to make a profit? Besides, his offer is still significantly more lucrative than the original backer's stake.

Also, I agree with ZEB. For all the hullabaloo that surrounds Trump these days, he's a pretty damned good businessman. He's been broke and rich both several times, seen both sides of the coin of venture capitalism. So, it's a business move on his part as well as being a political grandstand move.


LOL. Oh shit, Al Qaeda better run for it, we've got CSI badasses on the case!


What do you guys think?


Also has anyone seen any of the TV interviews the Imam is doing? He seem humble, eloquent, and almost apologetic about the whole thing. I can't believe he is doing solely to be a "real asshole."