Voices from Russia

Monday, 14 February 2011

St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Sues over World Trade Center Rebuilding Project

On Monday, the Greek Orthodox church damaged in the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York said it sued local authorities on grounds they seized its land and prevented it from rebuilding. Should St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church prevail in court, it could send authorities back to the drawing board in a World Trade Center rebuilding project already years behind schedule due to clashes over design, security, and control. The lawsuit centres on land the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is using for a vast underground parking garage that is part of the project involving five skyscrapers, a mass transit hub, and a memorial. “This case arises out of the arrogance, bad faith, and fraudulent conduct of the Port Authority, as agent for all of the agencies, in preventing St Nicholas from rebuilding its church at Ground Zero after it was crushed by a falling tower”, the Hellenic Eastern Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said in the complaint.

The complaint, brought in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, charged that the Port Authority in March 2009 “disavowed” a 2008 agreement to let the church rebuild at 130 Liberty Street, next to its original location at 155 Cedar Street, and pay it 20 million USD (585.789 million Roubles 14.786 million Euros 12.448 million UK Pounds). The Port Authority, in a statement, said the church had sought more than the 2008 agreement granted it, and the agency “had to make a practical decision to move on or risk further delaying the entire World Trade Center project. The Orthodox Church continues to have the right to build a church on their original site”, the statement said. The church also sued the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the Empire State Development Corp in connection with the issue.

14 February 2011

Joan Gralla

Andrew Hay

Reuters

As quoted by Yahoo News

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110214/us_nm/us_worldtradecenter_church_1;_ylc=X3oDMTEwanNrM2gzBF9TAzIwMjM4Mjc1MjQEZW1haWxJZAMxMjk3NzIyNDUy

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St Nicholas Greek Orthodox church sued the public agency that owned the World Trade Center on Monday, saying the agency reneged on a deal to rebuild a church that was destroyed in the 11 September 2001 attacks. The church says the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey broke a 2008 promise to rebuild St Nicholas Church at a new location down the block from its old site. It also says the Port Authority started excavating church property without permission as part of the new business and transportation complex at Ground Zero. “This is not about money, this is about their commitment to rebuild the only house of worship destroyed at Ground Zero”, church spokesman Mark Arey said. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America filed its lawsuit against the Port Authority in a US district court in Manhattan.

St Nicholas Church was built in 1916 and it was crushed when the World Trade Center towers collapsed. As part of the neighbourhood’s reconstruction, the Port Authority proposed a swap of the church property for a piece of land down the street so that the agency could build a centre for screening vehicles. In exchange, the agency would give the church millions of dollars to build a bigger church. The church says the two sides had mostly agreed on the terms when the Port Authority abruptly pulled out of talks in 2009. The Port Authority claims the church was demanding too much money. “After eight months of negotiations in which the demands of the Orthodox Church continued to increase over and above what was originally agreed to in 2008, the Port Authority had to make a practical decision to move on or risk further delaying the entire World Trade Center project”, the agency said in a written statement. The Port Authority said it offered 20 million USD (585.789 million Roubles 14.786 million Euros 12.448 million UK Pounds) of financing, and as much as 40 million USD (1.152 billion Roubles 29.572 million Euros 24.896 million UK Pounds) more to cover extra costs related to the construction of a Port Authority parking lot under the church. It claims the church wanted a building six times bigger than its original one. The church said that was only fair because it was giving up the valuable “air rights” over its original site. Air rights allow builders to put skyscrapers on small pieces of land. In addition, about one-third of the new church would have been a memorial area for people of all faiths to gather, Arey said.

14 February 2011

Chris Hawley

Associated Press

As quoted in the Brandon Sun

http://www.brandonsun.com/world/breaking-news/greek-orthodox-church-sues-over-stalled-plans-to-rebuild-church-destroyed-on-sept-11-2001-116201619.html?viewAl

Editor’s Note:

Where are all the loudmouthed Republican media nabobs? Rush Limboob, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity are all missing in action. They were quick to scream about a notional mosque, but none of them is standing tall for an actual parish being bullied by the PA. Where are Boehner, McConnell, and all the other ranting teabaggers? They’re on French leave, too, nowhere to be found. They scream about nonexistent death panels (but don’t complain about existing GOP death panels for Medicaid patients in KKK Arizona), but can’t be bothered to help a small parish literally crushed by 9/11. What’s the problem? Are they afraid of browning off their unibrow supporters (who believe that President Obama is a Muslim and that he was born abroad)? Where are all the OCA fanatics (there was nothing on oca.org in support of the lawsuit… is Fathausen waiting to see what way the wind blows?)? None of these posturing poseurs was there when the chips were down for the GOA and St Nicholas parish.

Draw your own conclusions… I’d say that the Republican Party and the OCA aren’t true friends of the GOA… they weren’t there when their presence was called for. It tells you volumes about those two organisations, doesn’t it?

BMD

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