Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ground Zero mosque founder imam Rauf accused of swindling investors, including government of Malaysia

The true imam Rauf at the minbar

After all the posturing, statements of victimization and lamentations of misunderstanding, the truth comes out.  Imam Rauf, the darling of the "Cordoba Initiative" and frontman for Islamic supremacism is now on the hotseat, accused of taking millions to support his lavish lifestyle.  Not only was money allegedly used for fancy doo-dads, it was also supposedly spent on Rauf's mistress as well.  I guess not even the admonitions of Muhammad to live the austere and simple life entered Rauf's mind, although it appears he was trying to follow the Qur'anic injunction allowing up to four wives.

From the Daily News February 6 by Barbara Ross and Larry McShane

Suit: Money funneled by former ‘Ground Zero’ mosque imam to finance lavish lifestyle

The ex-“Ground Zero” imam, his pockets stuffed with donations given to Islamic nonprofits, splurged on a high-flying lifestyle that included expensive trips with a New Jersey gal pal, a stunning new lawsuit charges.

The married Feisal Abdul Rauf fleeced the Malaysian government for $3 million and a Westchester County couple for $167,000, according to a lawsuit filed by the couple, businessman Robert Deak and his wife Moshira Soliman.

The money was given to help Rauf’s two nonprofits, the Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which work to combat anti-Islamic sentiment.

Instead, the controversial imam used some of the cash to provide lavish gifts and getaways to a woman identified as Evelyn Adorno, who shared “a personal relationship with Rauf,” said Deak’s attorney, Jonathan Nelson.

Adorno lives in North Bergen, N.J. — the same town as the 64-year-old imam and his wife, Daisy Khan.

The rest of the cash was spent on a luxury sports car, personal real estate and entertainment for the imam and his wife, charges the 11-page lawsuit.

The religious leader’s largesse and expensive travel with Adorno, 57, came despite the $50,138 annual salary he reported in Cordoba’s 2010 tax filing.

Khan — listed as a Cordoba director and ASMA’s executive director and co-founder — said Tuesday she did not know about the lawsuit or any charges.

“I haven’t gone on any vacations with my husband,” she told the Daily News. “I really know nothing about this.”

But Nelson specified the trips were with Adorno.

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 Place. His departure came one month after Deak claims that he discovered Rauf was misusing the donations.

The Islamic center, named Park51, opened its doors in September 2011. El-Gamal did not return a Tuesday call for comment on his former colleague.

At the North Bergen apartment where Adorno lives, an irate woman in a bathrobe slammed the door on a reporter. “I’m not going to comment as to whether I’m Evelyn or not,” she snapped.

But one resident said Adorno was a well-known figure in the building. “How could you not know Evelyn? She’s a trip,” said the neighbor, declining to give her name.

Paul Knight, the lawyer for Khan, dismissed the charges and said the imam will prove his innocence.

“The allegations are meritless and we will mount a vigorous defense against this lawsuit,” said Knight.

And Julia Jitkoff, who helped launch Cordoba in 2004 but later resigned from its board, told The News she saw no sign of shenanigans during her time with the nonprofit.

“I’m very fond of both of them,” Jitkoff said of Rauf and Khan.

But the court papers portrayed Rauf as a crook and a tax cheat...

Read it all

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