The former imam of the controversial “Ground Zero” mosque used millions of dollars in donations to fund a lavish lifestyle of travel and cars, a bombshell lawsuit charges.
The court papers, filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, allege that Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf pocketed $3 million from the government and another $167,000 from private donors.
The private owners get what they deserved. The government had no business giving Rauf $3M of taxpayers money and should also be held to account. But Clinton’s State Dept. was helping Rauf build the mosque.
The money — intended to fund a pair of non-profits — was used by Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan to buy real estate, pricey trips and vacations, entertainment and a luxury sports car, the suit charged.
“Rauf exhibited the falsity … and deception to defraud plaintiffs and divert assets to himself,” read the 11-page lawsuit filed by the charitable Deak Family Foundation, Westchester County businessman Robert Deak and his wife Moshira Soliman.
The lawsuit additionally charged Rauf of hiding his scheme to use non-profit money to pay for his pleasure by lying on income tax returns in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The imam specifically hid the “receipt of funds from foreign sources and transfers of funds” between the non-profits, the lawsuit alleged.
The money was donated to The Shariah Index Project, intended to combat anti-Islamic sentiment while educating people about the religion, and the Cordoba Initiative — the parent group of the project.
According to the suit, Rauf ran both non-profits.
Deak was among the first backers of the Cordoba Initiative, and became a member of its board when Rauf launched the non-profit in 2004.
The plaintiffs are seeking $25 million in damages from Rauf, the Cordoba Initiative and a related Rauf-run non-profit, The American Society for Muslim Advancement.
Kahn told the News she did not know about the lawsuit.
It’s Khan, not Kahn, but more like con.
“I haven’t gone on any vacations with my husband,” she said. “I really know nothing about this.”
Rauf, who became a polarizing figure in the national debate over the mosque near the World Trade Center site, 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 at 51 Park Pl. There was no hint of any problems when Rauf left to pursue other projects.