Monday, December 06, 2010

How Un-Orthodox: Greek Church May Sue Port Authority Over Ground Zero Site

Which is more tragic: The destruction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church across the street from the World Trade Center, or the struggles of the parisioners to have it rebuilt?

In the grand scheme of Ground Zero rebuilding, the church is both literally and figuratively the least of the Port Authority's concerns. The transit agency has four huge towers, a memorial, a transit hub and a security network to oversee. This may explain why the authority broke off negotiations with the church two years ago so it could begin work on a security center that will screen all vehicles making deliveries to the 16-acre site. The church was once located where the screening center is now planned.

Now St. Nicholas is preparing to sue the authority to win its land back, according to DNAinfo. That possibility seems remote, given security center construction, but a deal for another site or reparations might be struck in the courts. The Port Authority said it has once again reached out to try and address the issue, but there appears to be some confusion:

Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said two months ago that he planned to restart negotiations with the church soon, and a Port spokesman said Friday the agency recently sent a letter to the church.

But Arey said none of the church's leaders or anyone at the archdiocese had received a letter.

"I don't know where they sent it," [church spokesman Mark] Arey said. "There has been absolute silence."

Perhaps the Port sent the letter to the church's old address.


Han said...

I see your 5th Amendment takings claim and raise you a 1st Amendment Free Exercise claim.

Han said...

Actually, the best part of this is that it is a real physical taking claim--not one of those regulatory takings that have been so popular as of late. We just don't see these retro takings anymore.