A Manhattan lawyer representing Saudi King Abdullah is reportedly engaging New York officials and community leaders about a plan that would move the proposed Ground Zero Mosque to an abandoned hospital farther uptown. It's a proposal one source says is intended "to show that Muslims can do good works."
The New York Post says attorney Dudley Gaffin is claiming King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia might want to buy the defunct St. Vincent's Medical Center on 12th street and transfer the mosque to a new Islamic cultural center he would build on the grounds, according to sources who have heard Gaffin's pitch. The new mosque would be about 2.5 miles north of the current proposed site.
The proposal also includes an odd marriage of sorts, as the King would reportedly reopen much of the Catholic hospital.
The New York Post interviewed several sources:
"He's asking what it would take to put in a bid," said one community leader who did not want to be identified.
"He says the king wants to do this as a p.r. move -- to save the hospital and move the mosque away from the World Trade Center site," the source added. "He wants to show that Muslims can do good works."
"[Gaffin is] talking about the Saudis," said another source, a politically connected lawyer. "I don't know if any conversations have taken place [with them]."The cost would be at least $300 million -- the combined amount that the Sisters of Charity, which owns the hospital, owes the biggest secured creditors, GE Capital and TD bank.
If true, the King would have to outbid a group looking to tear down the hospital and build luxury condos. King Abdullah is currently in New York recovering from back surgery.