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Judge Dismisses Firefighter's Lawsuit Against Park51

By Julie Shapiro | July 11, 2011 12:40pm

LOWER MANHATTAN — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to derail the proposed Park51 mosque and community center downtown, the New York Times reported.

Former firefighter Tim Brown sued last year to block Park51 from demolishing 45-47 Park Place, which the Islamic group plans to raze to make way for its new 13-story, $100 million community center two blocks north of the World Trade Center.

Brown argued that the existing building, which was heavily damaged on 9/11, should be landmarked as a historic monument to the attack.

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission disagreed and voted in August 2010 that the building was not worthy of landmarking. Brown argued that the commission's decision was unduly influenced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong supporter of Park51.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Paul Feinman ruled Friday that Brown did not have legal standing to bring the case, the Times reported.

Lawyers for Park51 had argued Brown did not have standing because he was not directly affected by Park51's decision to tear down 45-47 Park Place and replace it with the mosque and community center.

Although Park51 now has the legal right to move forward with construction, the group has struggled to raise money.

Park51 is now trying to raise $70,000 for a Sept. 21 exhibit showcasing Danny Goldfield's NYChildren project, which features photos of children from dozens of countries living in New York City.

But after a couple weeks of raising money on Kickstarter, Park51 has only collected about $6,000.