There's a rather intriguing rumor making the rounds today, thanks to the New York Post and a lawyer close to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Dudley Gaffin, a Manhattan attorney with links to Saudi royalty, is asking community leaders about a proposed plan where the 87-year-old King would buy the bankrupt St. Vincent's hospital and reopen it -- and then move the proposed Park51 to an adjacent building nearby.
Abdullah, who is worth more than $20 billion, is allegedly looking into saving the hospital and moving the proposed Islamic center away from ground zero in a PR move to show that Muslims do good work.
The two issues have rankled New Yorkers as of late. The 160-year-old hospital has been an important presence on the West Side, and its closing was not only a blow to emergency services needed in Manhattan, but also decimated nearby businesses who had come to depend on the large hospital staff.
And putting the proposed Park51 so near ground zero has been met with some local opposition.Reports the Post:
Gaffin said the mosque and cultural center would likely be built in a space now occupied by a shuttered nursing facility on 12th Street, just east of Seventh Avenue.
Sources said Gaffin claimed to have broached the topic with Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, but reps for both denied it.
"No one here has heard of this," said Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna.