Latest Developments: Greek Church to Sue Over 9/11 Land

December 29, 2010  [, ]

The Tribeca Trib writes:
Leaders of the tiny St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, once seated at the foot of the World Trade Center and destroyed on Sept. 11, are hoping the threat of a lawsuit will force the Port Authority to honor a deal it struck in 2008 to rebuild the church.
Earlier this month, St. Nicholas parish leaders and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America notified Port Authority attorneys that they would sue the agency if it does not resume negotiations for funding a rebuilt church on or near the church’s original site on Cedar Street. The two sides have had little contact in more than a year.
The Port Authority has 60 days to settle the matter before it is referred to a State Supreme Court judge.
“The bottom line is that we need to protect our legal rights,” said Parish Council president John Couloucoundis. “We really don’t have a choice in the matter. We had to move forward after trying ad nauseam to bring them back to the table.”
The church came close to finalizing a deal with the Port Authority in July 2008. But after nine months of haggling over details, the Authority abruptly broke off negotiations, saying it had to start excavating the site for its underground Vehicle Security Center — currently under construction beneath the land where the church once stood — or risk falling further behind in developing the site. There has been virtually no discussion between the two sides ever since.
“They’re trespassing, it’s that simple,” Couloucoundis said.
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