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Lawsuit: Money intended for 'Ground Zero' mosque squandered by imam's lavish lifestyle

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The controversial "Ground Zero" mosque, to be built at 51 Park Place in Manhattan near the site of the felled World Trade Center may now not come to be - a lawsuit alleges that the man responsible has swindled donations to build the place of worship on his lavish lifestyle and mistress.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the lawsuit, Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf pocketed money for trips, real estate and a fancy car. The founder and CEO of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, Rauf has been accused of swiping donation money intended for the "Ground Zero" mosque to enjoy a lavish lifestyle.

According to the searing lawsuit, his pockets were stuffed with donations given from Islamic nonprofits to splurge on expensive trips spent with a New Jersey gal pal, a stunning new lawsuit charges.

In addition, the married Rauf fleeced the Malaysian government for $3 million and a Westchester County couple for $167,000. The couple in question, businessman Robert Deak along with his wife Moshira Soliman has filed the lawsuit.

The money donated was given to Rauf's two nonprofits, the Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which work to combat anti-Islamic sentiment.

Rauf's girlfriend is a woman identified as Evelyn Adorno, who shared "a personal relationship with Rauf," Deak's attorney, Jonathan Nelson says. Adorno lives in North Bergen, New Jersey, the same town as the 64-year-old imam and his wife, Daisy Khan.

Money was also spent on a luxury sports car, personal real estate and entertainment for the imam and his wife, charges the 11-page lawsuit. All of this largesse came despite the $50,138 annual salary he reported in Cordoba's 2010 tax filing.

Khan, listed as a Cordoba director and ASMA's executive director and co-founder said she did not know about the lawsuit or any charges.

"I haven't gone on any vacations with my husband," she told the Daily News. "I really know nothing about this."

Rauf was ousted as the religious leader of the planned Muslim community center in January 2011. The imam was at odds with Sharif El-Gamal, the developer of the project. His departure came one month after Deak claims that he discovered Rauf was misusing the donations.

Paul Knight, the lawyer for Khan, dismissed the charges and said the imam will prove his innocence.

"The allegations are meritless and we will mount a vigorous defense against this lawsuit," Knight says.

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