Friday, February 26, 2016

Did Donald Trump Cause the Demise of Our Lady of Vilnius?

Today is the 9th anniversary of the locking of Our Lady of Vilnius.  Donald Trump is the front running Republican presidential candidate and Our Lady of Vilnius has been enhanced to smithereens, a casualty of Donald Trump's brand of Success.

On February 27, Jen Chang recounted the locking in her Gothamist post, Cardinal Egan is Sneaky. In the ensuing forum, a reader with the moniker Upchuck states:
"But Jen, you fail to comment on the fact that parishes are dwindling so that the land could be sold to settle lawsuits against the church.
the actual size of the parish in numbers would have been irrelevent. people come and go in waves to church especially in the last 50 years (though it is more on the leaving side).
the developer interested in this piece of land by the way, is Trump...along with two other church properties." [my bolding]

It was common scuttlebutt in the parish and neighborhood that Trump made an offer on the property. A parishioner with a broad social network told me that Trump wanted to acquire the whole block and build a pedestrian bridge across Varick linking the proposed structure to his condotel on Spring Street.

On Sunday, May 6, 2012 The New York Times Metropolitan section featured a guide to power brokers, present and future:  The Powers of New York.  One of those profiled is then Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, Jonathan Lippman, who presided over the hearing of Blaudziunas v. Egan (the case of Our Lady of Vilnius).  William Glaberson's profile characterizes Judge Lippman as
" ... a schmoozer who has had lunch with Donald Trump and breakfast with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan."
While this was most likely an attempt to showcase the diversity of Judge Lippman's contacts, to citizens of OLV country these repasts represented a schmooze with the rumored buyer and rumored seller.

The theme has come up again and again, most recently in a comment to my post, Archdiocese of New York Announces 8/1 Departure.

Believing that truth would be a worthy near-compensation for losing this irreplaceable community and house of worship, I am seeking further information.  Please contact me to help unravel this mystery.

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