News of Donald Trump’s letter to Hisham Elzanaty surfaced recently, after the letter in cause (offering to purchase Elzanaty’s slot located at Park Place, New York, NY 10007 – not far from Ground Zero) was sent September 9th. The media reacted promptly, many considering Trump’s letter a pathetic “PR attempt” or a PR Stunt, and not a serious offer.
In fact, the reaction was caused by Elzanaty’s own attorney Wolodymyr Starosolsky, who said in a statement “This is just a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight.”
But Trump might not be in this just for publicity. On the property owned by Elzanaty a few interested parties plan building a mosque and Islamic cultural center. For many, building the mosque in such close proximity to the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center would be insensitive to the victims and families of nearly 2,800 people who died, The Street reports.
In his letter (*.pdf copy), Trump stated clearly that his offer to buy the property was made to defuse a potentially divisive situation.
“Please let this letter serve to represent my offer to purchase your site located at 45 Park Place, New York, NY 10007, for what you paid plus 25%. I am making this offer as a resident of New York and citizen of the United States, not because I think the location is a spectacular one (because it is not), but because it will end a very serious, inflammatory and highly divisive situation that is destined, in my opinion, to only get worse.As part of the offer, it would be agreed that, if you or your representative were to build a mosque, it would be located at least five blocks further from the World Trade Center site.”
Trump’s offer was refused, but probably because the offer was too low, and because Elzanaty is not the sole owner. Other developers have vested interested in the property, which, according to CNN, is slated to include a variety of facilities, including a prayer room, a performing arts center, gym, a swimming pool and other public spaces.