Suit: Ground Zero Mosque Leader Stole Millions

Wednesday, 06 Feb 2013 03:01 PM

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A lawsuit filed on Monday charges that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the former leader of the proposed "Ground Zero" mosque project in Manhattan, embezzled millions from his Muslim charity to spend on a sports car, vacations and gifts for a lady friend.

The suit was filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by Westchester, N.Y. businessman Robert Leslie Deak, a self-described Muslim convert who alleges that over several years, Rauf accepted $167,000 donated by Deak to combat anti-Muslim sentiment.

That money was “utilized by Rauf for his personal use” along with his third wife, Daisy Khan, according to the suit.

The spending was “not limited to a luxury sports car, personal real estate, entertainment, lavish trips and vacations with Evelyn Adorno and support of Evelyn Adorno, gifts and other personal uses,” the suit states.

Declassified: ‘Financial War’ Could Wipe Out 50% of Your Wealth’

Adorno and Rauf “have a long-standing personal relationship,” Deak’s attorney Jonathan Nelson told The New York Post.

In the suit, Deak and his wife Moshira Solimon claim that Rauf’s nonprofit organization accepted $3 million in donations from the government of Malaysia for the ground zero project, but Rauf never declared the donations to the IRS for three consecutive years.

Kuwaiti-born Rauf’s controversial project, now called Park51 but often referred to as the “ground zero mosque,” was a planned 13-story Islamic community center two blocks from the World Trade Center site.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said back in 2010 that the families of 9/11 victims would be hurt and angered at the idea of erecting a huge Islamic center near the site of the terror attacks by Islamic fundamentalists.

Rauf was removed from the Park51 project in January 2011 following several public relations blunders.

He told an Australian audience that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaida has in its murder of non-Muslims. He also claimed that U.N. sanctions against Iraq had led to the death of more than 500,000 children, an assertion that was quickly discredited.

Deak and his wife are seeking up to $25 million in punitive damages.
Rauf’s attorney Paul Knight declined a request for a comment on Adorno, but told the Post that he “denied the allegations that are raised” and said Rauf will “vigorously defend himself and show that [the suit] has no basis.”

Adorno declined to comment.

Rauf sued Deak last year, charging that the businessman conned him into paying $1.5 million for a condo in Washington, D.C., that was worth only a third of that.

Declassified: ‘Financial War’ Could Wipe Out 50% of Your Wealth’

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