Ex-Firefighter Sues to Block Park51 Construction

Lawyers accuse New York City officials of an all-out conspiracy.

By Jamilah King Jan 14, 2011

The Park51 controversy is back in the news. While the fervor over New York City’s decision to allow the construction of an Islamic community center near Ground Zero has waned considerably since midterm elections, some die hard opponents are making sure that the issue stays in the news. Now a retired firefighter New York City firefighter has filed suit against the city in an attempt to block the construction of the center.

A group of lawyers from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), acting on behalf of ex-firefighter Timothy Brown, filed a motion in New York Supreme Court on Tuesday asking for an injunction against the scheduled demolition of the building that’s currently housed on the Park51 site. Talking Points Memo reports that the group first sued the city back in August, and now argue that a city commission "acted arbitrarily" in deciding to approve Park51’s construction plans.

In short, the group alleges that the city was in bed with developers from the beginning. To this end, ACLJ has also filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the city to release emails between Mayor Bloomberg and the project’s developers. A conservative group filed a similar request back in December.

City officials, however, aren’t backing down.

"These allegations are simply an attempt to divert attention from the fact that the lawsuit is baseless," a city spokeswoman told the New York Times.