Just days after it was revealed that Park51 mosque developer Sharif El-Gamal is in hot water regarding $1.7 million in unpaid rent, a source close to him says he’s gone off the deep end.
“Sharif’s gone AWOL,” a frustrated source, who was once close with the developer, confided in Metro. “We don’t know what the f— he’s doing.”
In addition to the Con Edison lawsuit regarding the $1.7 million rent dispute, El-Gamal and Soho Properties are facing at least five civil lawsuits; including one with an East Rockaway novelty shop that specializes in custom gilded mirrors.
It was also reported that El-Gamal fell behind on his property tax payments of $30,000 — and then allegedly presented a fraudulent receipt to the New York Daily News when they inquired about it.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, El-Gamal said he is envisioning hotels, condos, office space, or even an exclusive private club built on top of the mosque. It was a decision that shocked many people close to him — even those that first approved the community center to be built.
“It’s very disconcerting that what was presented as a community center was really just more luxury housing,” Julie Menin, chair of Community Board 1 said.
Menin said she’s been shut out by El-Gamal, and consequently, so has the community that once heralded his vision.
Active lawsuits against El-Gamal and his company, Soho Properties:
Stylebuilt Accessories v. El-Gamal
Atlantic Business Products, Inc. (Atlantic Tomorrows Office) v. Soho Properties General Partner, LLC
Valley National Bank v. Soho Properties Inc.
Royal Crospin, Inc. v. Sharif El-Gamal
Slomin’s Inc. v. Soho Properties Inc.
Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyattMetro.