The Corner

Records Show City Working for GZ Mosque Organizers

E-mails and other public records requested by opponents show a Bloomberg administration acting behind the scenes on behalf of the Park51 project — aka the Ground Zero Mosque — and a development board member looking for “political cover” before allowing the project to go forward.

Bloomberg administration officials are working “very closely with the organizers of the project. . . to combat public opposition and navigate various governmental hurdles.” One administration official even ghost-wrote a letter for Park51 organizers.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

In one email from May, Shelly Friedman, the organizers’ lawyer, wrote that Manhattan Community Board 1′s vote in support of the project would be helpful as organizers urged landmark commission Chairman Robert Tierney and other panel members to reject landmark status for the building currently on the site. “I do know that chairman Tierney was looking forward to having the ‘political cover’ their support would bring him,” Ms. Friedman wrote.

Brett Joshpe, counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, one of the groups that sought the documents and is suing the city, said Ms. Friedman’s email is telling.

“Our allegation all along has been that politics tainted this process and that the Landmarks decision was not actually based on a faithful review of the architectural or historical value of the building but based upon political influences,” Mr. Joshpe said.

The exchange of emails also reveals how heavily involved the administration was in the project’s development. One email shows that Nazli Parvizi, the city’s community affairs commissioner, drafted a letter that Daisy Khan, the wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, wrote to the community board. City officials also intervened to help the organizers get permits to conduct prayers at the site. In one email, organizers agreed to help fund a 2009 Ramadan celebration at Gracie Mansion.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the emails are proof that the mayor’s staff was coordinating with the Islamic center’s leaders.

“They were getting press advice from the mayor’s office, they were editing letters for them,” he said. “They were advising them on the all important landmark issue.”

“They were told what to do in order to get approval and there was never any question of getting approval,” he said. “It was obviously political.”

More here.

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

Most Popular

White House

The Mueller Report Should Shock Our Conscience

I've finished reading the entire Mueller report, and I must confess that even as a longtime, quite open critic of Donald Trump, I was surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and brazenness of the lies, falsehoods, and misdirections detailed by the Special Counsel's Office. We've become accustomed to Trump making up ... Read More
Education

An Idea for Student Loans: Get Rid of Them

Here is a three-part plan for something practical the federal government could do to relieve college-loan debt. Step 1: The federal government should stop making college loans itself and cease guaranteeing any such loans. Step 2: It should prohibit educational lending by federally regulated financial institutions ... Read More
White House

The Problem with the Mueller Report

So much for collusion. The media conversation has now officially moved on from the obsession of the last two years to obstruction of justice. That’s because the first volume of the voluminous Mueller report, the half devoted to what was supposed to be the underlying crime of a Trump conspiracy with Russia, ... Read More
Sports

Screw York Yankees

You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks. The team I have rooted for since 1965, when I first visited the House that Ruth Built, where I hawked peanuts and ice cream a lifetime ago, watched countless games (Guidry striking out 18!), has gotten so ... Read More