By Della Hasselle
MANHATTAN — Donald Trump offered to buy the site of the proposed mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero on Thursday.
But as soon as news of Trump's proposal spread, his offer was declined.
The real estate giant made a direct offer to Park51 investor Hisham Elzanaty of 25 percent more than what Elzanaty originally paid for his share of the investment, according to a letter from Trump released Thursday.
As part of the all-cash offer, Trump stipulated that if Elzanaty or his representatives build future mosques, they must be built “at least five blocks further form the World Trade Center site.”
But Elzanaty turned the real estate mogul down.
"This is just a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight," said Wolodymyr Starosolsky, Elzanaty's lawyer, according to the Associated Press.
Elzanaty had told the AP in a previous article that he invested in the Islamic center for financial reasons, and that he would sell his share for a good price.
“I’m a businessman. This was a mere business transaction for me,” Elzanaty told the AP Wednesday, referring to his investment in Park51.
“Develop it, raze it, sell it. If someone wants to give me 18 or 20 million dollars today, it’s all theirs.”
Apparently, the mosque developer changed his mind.
Messages for Park51 and Elzanaty were not returned as of press time.
Trump said in his letter that he didn't make the offer because he thinks it's a good location to buy, but rather to assuage the nationwide controversy over the proposed mosque.
“I am making this offer as a resident of New York and a citizen of the United States,” Trump wrote in a letter, “because it will end a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation that is destined, in my opinion, to only get worse.”