WASHINGTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is representing a New York City firefighter who survived the 9-11 terrorist attacks, today filed a lawsuit against the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) at the Supreme Court of the State of New York urging the court to nullify a decision yesterday by LPC - a decision that denies landmark status to a historic building clearing the way for an Islamic mosque to be built on the site. The lawsuit charges that the city violated its own policies and procedures in rejecting landmark status and exhibited "an arbitrary and capricious abuse of discretion and contrary to decades of administrative precedent."
“The land use process of New York City now threatens to do what the terrorists failed to accomplish and destroy a building that has been under consideration for landmark status for twenty (20) years”
"This legal challenge clearly points out the fact that the city did not follow its own rules and procedures in this case," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "The deliberative process was tainted and violated procedural safeguards that have been in place for years. We're hopeful that the court will nullify the Commission's vote and conclude what most New Yorkers and Americans understand - this site is sacred ground and not the place to build a mosque."
The petition filed today is a proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules. The ACLJ is seeking a judgment "annulling, vacating and setting aside the determination of Respondent, LPC as against the weight of the evidence, contrary to administrative procedure and precedent, and violative of statutes, rules and regulations governing the landmark process in the City of New York."
The ACLJ suit charges that the city violated the New York City Charter and the New York City Administrative Code. Among the assertions made in the suit: the city failed to properly review and consider the public comments about the project, acted hastily in voting to deny landmark status, and failed to acknowledge the significance of the site as a historic and hallowed landmark from the tragic attacks of 9-11.
"The denial of landmark status to the building was an arbitrary and capricious abuse of discretion and contrary to decades of administrative precedent," the petition argues.
The lawsuit also notes that the building has been under consideration for landmark status long before 9-11. And, that the designation is even more appropriate now since part of a hijacked plane from the 9-11 attacks crashed through the roof of the building.
The petition states: "The building stands as an iconic symbol to an uninterrupted linkage of the rise of American capitalism with our current quest to preserve our freedom and democracy. The building, therefore, should stand as part of the commemorative and educational experience of our shared political, cultural and historic heritage."
"The land use process of New York City now threatens to do what the terrorists failed to accomplish and destroy a building that has been under consideration for landmark status for twenty (20) years," the petition asserts.
The ACLJ is urging the court to nullify the decision and order the LPC to reconsider the issue in accordance with proper procedure and law. The court is expected to set a hearing date for the lawsuit sometime in October.
The ACLJ represents Tim Brown, a firefighter and first responder, who survived the Twin Towers’ collapse and lost nearly 100 friends.
The ACLJ also has heard from thousands of Americans who have signed on the Committee to Stop the Ground Zero Mosque.
The lawsuit is posted here: http://www.aclj.org/media/pdf/ACLJ_EXECUTED-PETITION_20100804.pdf
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C. The ACLJ is online at www.aclj.org.