Ubiquitous New York celebrity and real-estate mogul Donald Trump, who has the uncanny ability to inject himself into nearly any national news story, has offered to buy out the owner of the site planned for the Cordoba Islamic cultural center. Bloomberg News reports that Trump has offered "the price paid plus 25%" on the condition that the center be built at least seven blocks away from the former World Trade Center site instead of the planned two blocks.
Hisham Elzanaty, the Long Island developer who paid $4.8 million for a 50 percent share of the real estate, says he would be willing to sell for the right price. "Develop it, raze it, sell it," he has said. "If someone wants to give me 18 or 20 million dollars today, it's all theirs." It's unclear how much authority Elzanaty has to sell without consulting the other investors. It's also unclear what would happen if Trump ends up as a partial owner of the land.
Whatever happens in the end, the important thing is that Donald Trump got himself in the news. He even managed to work in a passive-aggressive jab—that the site, while it might be good enough for an international controversy and the personal involvement of President Barack Obama, is not really "spectacular" enough for his personal tastes. Here's part of the letter he sent to Elzanaty and just happened to accidentally CC to every news organization in New York:
I am making this offer as a resident of New York and citizen of the United States, not because I think the location is a spectacular one (because it is not), but because it will end a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation that is destined, in my opinion, to only get worse.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.