New York, Aug 29(AN): Sharif El-Gamal, the Chief Executive of Soho Properties and the developer of Park51, has a history of at least seven run-ins with the law.
Park51, originally named Cordoba House, is a planned 100 million dollar 13-story Islamic cultural center and mosque to be built close to 9/11 Ground Zero.
According to The New York Daily News, El-Gamal has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Manhattan in 1994, 1998 and 1999.
He also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in 1990, DWI in 1992 and attempted petit larceny in 1993.
However, El-Gamal claims that he is a different man now.
"My faith teaches me every day about humility. I have been humbled by my imperfections. But my faith also teaches me about forgiveness," El-Gamal said in the statement.
"While I might not be proud of some of my actions in the past, I am extremely proud of the Park51 project and what it will mean to thousands of New Yorkers of all faiths and denominations who live in Lower Manhattan," he added.
El-Gamal began amassing a property portfolio in 2007, snatching up and managing apartment buildings in Harlem and Washington Heights.
He bought the property where he plans to build the Islamic cultural center for nearly five million dollars in July 2009. (ANI)