The new argument against the Islamic community center and mosque planned for Lower Manhattan? The center's Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, will infest the hallowed ground near Ground Zero with bedbugs. It's being reported that Rauf, who owns a couple of apartment buildings in Union City, NJ, has let the properties deteriorate so badly that Union City is suing him for violating tenants' rights laws. NJ.com reports that the problems with the apartments include leaks, mold, bedbug and rodent infestation and fire hazards. The city has stationed a cop car outside one of the buildings since last week because residents have complained there are no working fire alarms!
Paola Leiva tells CBS2 she has bedbugs and no child guards on her windows to protect her three children under 6. There's also a leaky hole in her bathroom ceiling. Another resident, Cindy Balko, tells NJ.com, "I’ve been here since the building opened (in 1990) and it hasn’t been peaceful with this owner. He cares nothing about the people who live in this building. Not a thing." When asked if her complaints were motivated by the imam’s controversial position mosque plans, Balko said, "It’s fine and dandy that he can build a mosque. But he doesn’t take care of this building or the building around the corner, and he’s going to take care of a mosque?"
The lawsuit against Rauf states the Union City Health Department has responded to "no less than 30 complaints from tenants predicated upon various health and safety concerns, including lack of heat, mold inside apartments, garbage issues, bedbugs, foul odors, dirty hallways and the lack of utilities." Meanwhile, the proposed mosque's developer, Sharif El-Gamal, is being evicted from his Soho office because he owes $39,000 in back rent! Oh well, that's peanuts compared to the $100 million it'll cost to build the thing.