Before the lead developer of the proposed Islamic Center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero can raise $100 million for that controversial project, Sharif El-Gamal may have to take stock and account for the rent of his company’s own office.
El-Gamal’s real estate firm, SoHo Properties, was sent an eviction notice last month for owing $39,000 in back rent, according to Manhattan Housing Court documents obtained by the Daily News yesterday. Royal Crospin, the management company that runs El-Gamal’s office building at 552 Broadway, sent El-Gamal an eviction notice after issuing a warning to the developer in July demanding payment by mid-August, which went unheeded.
El-Gamal has been in a similar predicament previously, the paper reported. After Royal Crospin sued SoHo Properties last year for nearly $89,000 in back rent, El-Gamal’s firm settled for $56,000.
He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Beyond the heated debate over the project itself, many have raised questions whether the team behind Park51, as the center is called, has enough experience pulling off a major New York City real estate project. El-Gamal’s money woes come on the heels of a lawsuit accusing the project’s imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, of being a slumlord of two New Jersey buildings.