Citibank sues Ground Zero developer over failure to repay $ 100,000 debt

New York, Dec 3 (ANI): Citibank has sued Ground Zero developer Sharif El-Gamal and his real estate firm, Soho Properties, over failure to pay back nearly 100,000 dollars (99,489 dollars) borrowed from a business credit account last year, according to a complaint filed in a Manhattan court.

El-Gamal however said that the default was a standard way to negotiate better credit rates and that the matter would be resolved.

"In every industry at this time, major business leaders are working with their financial institutions to restructure their debt in order to take advantage of historically low interest rates. It is important to note that Soho Properties manages over 300 million dollars worth of property," the New York Daily News quoted him as saying in a statement.

This is not the first time that the developer of the controversial Ground Zero mosque has come under the purview of such charges.

In August, a Manhattan landlord sued El-Gamal and Soho Properties for 39,000 dollars in back rent. The suit was later withdrawn, and the matter was resolved out of court. In October, Valley National Bank sued El-Gamal and Soho Properties for over 95,778 dollars interest after they defaulted on a loan in 2009, the paper said.

The proposed Islamic centre and mosque was vehemently opposed by families of victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, saying that it was absolutely unfair to build the mosque just two blocks away from the former World Trade Center site, which was destroyed by jihadis in 2001.

Earlier, El-Gamal had said that such a hue and cry over the proposed project was irrelevant, as he does not consider his faith responsible for the September 11 terror attacks. (ANI)

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