NEW YORK – The American Center for Law & Justice filed a petition in New
York State Supreme Court on Wednesday in an attempt to annul the previous day’s
Landmarks Preservation Commission decision to deny landmark status to a building
that developers seek to tear down to make way for an Islamic cultural center two
blocks from Ground Zero.
The American Center for Law & Justice
(ACLJ), a Washington- based constitutional rights public interest law firm
founded by Evangelist Pat Robertson in 1990, filed its petition on behalf of New
York City firefighter Timothy Brown, a first responder on September
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“The land use process of New York City now threatens to do what the
terrorists failed to accomplish and destroy a building that has been under
consideration for landmark status for 20 years,” the petition reads.
ACLJ’s petition contends that the Landmarks Preservation Commission
own policies and procedures by refusing landmark status to the building
Park Place, both on architectural and historical grounds, and that the
commission exhibited “an arbitrary and capricious abuse of discretion
contrary to decades of administrative precedent.”
“We’re hopeful that the
court will nullify the commission’s vote and reconsider what most New
and Americans understand – this site is sacred ground and not the place
a mosque,” ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow said.
ACLJ lawyer Brett Joshpe
expects that the judicial process regarding his organization’s petition
take several months, and does not expect imminent movement on the
of Park51, the proposed $100 million, 13- story glass and steel Islamic
center and mosque that has garnered opposition due to its proposed
blocks from Ground Zero, until it receives the required permits from the
ACLJ’s petition alleges that the city failed to properly review and
consider public comments about the project, acted hastily in voting to
landmark status, and failed to acknowledge the significance of the 1850s
Italianate building, thus violating the New York City Charter and the
City Administrative Code.
The petition also contends that the building
should be considered a historic landmark due to the events of September
noting that part of one of the hijacked planes of September 11 crashed
“The building stands as an iconic symbol to an uninterrupted
linkage of the rise of American capitalism with our current quest to
our freedom and democracy,” the petition reads. “The building,
stand as part of the commemorative and educational experience of our
political, cultural and historic heritage.”
The ACLJ’s petition seeks to
have the court nullify the commission’s decision and order the city to
reconsider landmark status for the building.
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