By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

05 September 2010

Mosque 'slumlord'

He's the religious leader of the planned, controversial Ground Zero mosque -- but across the Hudson, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is known as an alleged slumlord.

At buildings in Union City and Palisades Park, where Rauf reportedly got tax dollars to renovate low-income apartments, tenants yesterday said their gripes about their lousy housing conditions have been ignored.

"Why doesn't he help the tenants he has before he builds a new place, claiming he wants to help people?" said a disgusted Jamie Barillas, who lives in a Rauf-owned apartment at 2206 Central Ave. in Union City.


"Nothing gets done. We have to go through City Hall to get things done. . . . He doesn't care about his tenants," she said.

Barillas said that bedbugs plague the building -- but that when she tried to get building managers to respond, they claimed they didn't have the money to hire an exterminator.

Tenant Vilma Then chided Rauf as greedy.

"All he likes is money," she said. "Nothing ever gets fixed. I complain to the super, and all he says is that he has the same problem."

Vilma Then said she lived at Rauf's building around the corner until a fire forced her to move to 2206 Central Ave. She said her current situation is similar to her old digs, where she had a stove that was more like "a roach den."

She also complained that Rauf's wife, Daisy Khan -- who has been the imam's spokesperson while he is touring overseas -- "listens to what you have to say and writes things down and leaves -- and nothing gets done."

"She gives nothing but false promises," the resident said.

The Record newspaper of Hackensack reported that Rauf won taxpayer-funded support for his New Jersey buildings from powerful politicians in the state, including Sen. Bob Menendez when he was the mayor of Union City.

The projects were plagued by financial problems as well as tenant complaints, the paper said.

A spokesman for Menendez said the senator did not have a close working relationship with Rauf.

"There's a lot of people with real-estate projects in a given town, and a lot of communications go through the mayor's office," he told The Post.

Khan did not immediately return calls to her home or workplace.

She had told The Record that all of the tenants' complaints had been addressed.

Francisco Nuñez, 46, who lives in one of the imam's Union City apartment houses, told The Post that Rauf "needs to pay more attention to this building because human beings live here -- we're not living here for free."

"We pay rent, which is the only time people come around -- to collect money."



The comments are closed.