Update on the Boston mosque controversy from the Boston Globe, with thanks to Twostellas:
A top Boston Redevelopment Authority official who previously downplayed his role in the Roxbury mosque project of the Islamic Society of Boston assisted in the city’s reduction of the price the mosque backers paid for the site from $2 million to $175,000, according to BRA documents that have surfaced in lawsuits over the controversial project.
The official, Mohammad Ali-Salaam, the BRA’s deputy director for planning, also raised funds for the project when he traveled to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as a representative of the city in 2000. The BRA board gave him permission to make the trip, which was paid for by the Islamic Society, but the BRA spokeswoman, Susan Elsbree, said yesterday that Ali-Salaam was not given permission to raise funds for the project while there.
Elsbree would not comment on the propriety of the fund-raising, but said that ”the Boston Redevelopment Authority firmly believes that Muhammad Ali-Salaam is in full compliance with conflict-of-interest law and state ethics standards as they relate to the Islamic Society of Boston’s mosque development.”
Of course you do. But in any other context the conflicts of interest would be patent. What have you done to investigate the possibility of them here, Elsbree?