Imamen som frontet Ground Zero-moskeen, Feisal Abdul Rauf, er stevnet for misbruk av donormidler. Pengene som var ment for brobygging mellom religionene gikk i stedet til privat luksusforbruk, mener en av donorene å kunne bevise.
Det ble et voldsomt oppstyr da Rauf stilte seg i spissen for et muslimsk senter like ved Ground Zero. Planene ser ut til å ha falt i fisk etter at Rauf og eiendomsbesitteren ble uvenner.
Raufs renommé har også en politisk side: Det amerikanske utenriksdepartementet brukte ham som goodwill-ambassadør i Midtøsten.
The suit against the imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, was filed on Monday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by Robert Leslie Deak, a major donor to the imam’s nonprofit organizations, the Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement.
Mr. Deak said in the suit that he donated $167,000 between 2006 and 2008 to a project to combat anti-Muslim sentiment. Instead, the suit alleges, Mr. Abdul Rauf used the money for entertainment and other personal purposes.
The lawsuit also accuses the organizations of not reporting on their tax returns approximately $3 million that the Malaysian government donated to the two organizations. Instead, according to the suit, that money was also taken by Mr. Abdul Rauf for his personal use.
Jonathan Nelson, the lawyer for Mr. Deak and his wife, Moshira Solimon, said that his clients first began to suspect in 2010 that fraud had taken place, and that they had “gathered the information in bits and pieces” by April 2011. The couple are asking for $5 million in punitive damages.
“They are just incredibly disappointed and shocked,” Mr. Nelson said.
In a statement, Mr. Abdul Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, an officer at the two organizations, said that they “emphatically deny the allegations contained in that lawsuit.”