Imam Rauf was given $2 million in US taxpayer money to repair his buildings but they remained full of violations, utilities unpaid.
- 9/13/10, "NJ town files lawsuit against Imam behind controversial mosque near Ground Zero," The Star Ledger, by Steve Strumsky
- Sage’s corporate status was revoked by the state in March 2005, for its failure to file annual reports.
The buildings occupy the same lot at 226 Central Ave., one containing 32 apartments and the other 16. The larger building has been vacant since Feb. 8, 2008, when
- a fire broke out there, one year after the city says it issued
- 12 separate fire code violations that Rauf ignored.
Rather than addressing the violations after the fire, the city says Rauf boarded up the building, barring residents from their apartments.
- A spokesman for Mayor Brian Stack said he could not immediately say what had become of the displaced families.
"He’s a terrible landlord who’s unresponsive to the residents who live in his building," said the spokesman, Mark Albiez. "City officials and inspectors have reached out to him to express the urgency in correcting problems in his buildings, and it’s unfortunate that it’s gotten to this point, but it’s our responsibility to insure that residents receive the care that is needed."
- Repeated calls to Rauf’s home telephone were met with a busy signal. No number was listed for Sage Development.
Late tonight, no one answered the doorbell at Rauf's North Bergen residence.
Apart from the fire-related issues, the lawsuit says the landlord ignored dozen of complaints from tenants about various other
- problems in the two buildings during the
- past two decades.
The suit seeks to place the buildings into receivership, in which a court-appointed receiver would collect rents directly from tenants and use the money to make necessary repairs and address hazards, pay
- delinquent utility bills and settle fines imposed by the city.
"From 1996 to 2010, the city responded to no less than thirty complaints from tenants predicated upon various health and safety concerns, including lack of heat,
- mold inside apartments, garbage issues, bed bugs, foul odors, dirty hallways and
- the lack of utilities/heat," the lawsuit states.
Feisal Abdul Rauf is the well-known author, activist and imam of the Masjid al-Farah. Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, have been at the center of the international controversy over plans to develop a proposed Islamic Center and mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site.
- Opponents have criticized the plans as insensitive to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks, perpetrated by Islamic extremists who hijacked commercial planes and flew them into the twin towers....
Last week, The Record reported that Rauf received more than $2 million in public money to renovate low-income apartments he owns in Hudson County,
- including those mentioned in today’s lawsuit, after winning support for the projects from officials, including
the disgraced former County Executive Robert C. Janiszewski, and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, who was mayor of Union City at the time.
The Record also reported that Rauf had ties to local waterfront developer Fred Daibes,
- and was sued by a Daibes associate who had charged the imam with
- mortgage fraud in 2008, a suit that was settled in June."