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NYC lawsuit: Former imam of mosque planned near ground zero misused donations to his charity

A donor says an imam who became a lightning rod for heated debate over a planned mosque near ground zero used millions of dollars in contributions to his separate charity for pricey trips, a sports car and other personal expenses.

Robert Deak filed a fraud suit Monday in Manhattan against Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (rah-OOF') and the Cordoba Initiative.

Rauf's lawyer, Paul Knight, says the imam and his groups "emphatically deny the allegations." They have pursued their own fraud claims against Deak in a federal court since 2011.

Rauf co-led efforts to build the lower Manhattan Islamic center for a time in 2010. The proposal became a flashpoint for protests in the lead-up to the Sept. 11 anniversary that year.

Rauf's role in the project was reduced in January 2011.

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