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February 06, 2013

Suit Claims Fraud by Imam Behind 'Ground Zero Mosque'

A contributor to charities led by Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam associated with controversial plans to build an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center site, filed a lawsuit Monday claiming the spiritual leader spent millions of dollars from donors on real estate, a luxury car, and other personal uses, The New York Times writes.

Mr. Abdul Rauf denied the allegations by Robert Leslie Deak, a businessman who gave $167,000 to the imam's Cordoba Initiative and American Society for Muslim Advancement for projects combating anti-Muslim prejudice. In a statement, Mr. Abdul Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, said the Cordoba Initiative is already suing Mr. Deak for fraud and breach of trust over the 2010 sale of a Washington, D.C., condominium.

Mr. Abdul Rauf was the public face of the 2010 proposal to build a mosque and Islamic center a few blocks from ground zero in Lower Manhattan. He left the project in January 2011 amid a dispute with the property's owner.