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Judge Grants Temporary Reprieve To Park Place Mosque Developer

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- There will be no community center and mosque on Park Place unless the developer can pay his rent.

On Tuesday, Judge Richard Braun temporarily blocked Con Edison, the building's landlord, from evicting Sharif El-Gamal, who has headed the Park51 project.

WCBS 880's Peter Haskell With The Details


That ruling means that El-Gamal has 20 days to pay the rent that he owes or challenge the utility's complaints.

Con Edison contends that El-Gamal owes $1.7 million in back rent. However, El-Gamal argues that he owes much less than that figure -- about $880,000.

While the judge granted an injunction for any potential eviction, he did allow Con Ed to charge the developer of the proposed community center and mosque near the World Trade Center site $25,000 per month in rent as the court fight continues.

El-Gamal had been paying about half of that amount. Park51 must also put up $780,000 bond for back rent.

The project became a lightning rod when opponents claimed a Ground Zero mosque would be disrespectful to 9/11 victims.

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