Ground Zero Mosque Imam Embezzled Millions: Lawsuit

Feisal Abdul Rauf allegedly used charity cash for swanky lifestyle

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 6, 2013 11:48 AM CST

(Newser) – The former imam for the much-maligned mosque near Ground Zero embezzled millions of dollars from his charity, a $25 million lawsuit alleges. Feisal Abdul Rauf, ousted two years ago from the mosque, used the money to fund a luxury lifestyle, including gifts and support for a woman outside his marriage, the suit says. Rauf allegedly took the cash from two nonprofit organizations he ran that were intended to promote religious tolerance, the New York Post reports. The lawsuit was brought by a businessman who gave some $167,000.

Rauf used the money for items "not limited to a luxury sports car, personal real estate, entertainment, lavish trips and vacations with Evelyn Adorno," with whom he has "a long-standing personal relationship," says a lawyer for businessman Robert Deak. The suit also says Rauf accepted $3 million from the Malaysian government but didn't report it to the IRS. Rauf will "vigorously defend himself and show that (the suit) has no basis," his own lawyer says. Rauf last year brought his own suit against Deak, saying he'd been tricked into overpaying for a condo in Washington, DC.

This artist rendering provided by SOMA Architects on Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, shows an interior view of the proposed Park51 community center and mosque.
This artist rendering provided by SOMA Architects on Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, shows an interior view of the proposed Park51 community center and mosque.   (AP Photo/SOMA Architects)
Muslim community leader Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf speaks during an interview on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, in New York.
Muslim community leader Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf speaks during an interview on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, in New York.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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