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No extension yet, but Norwalk Council, judge to discuss Al Madany settlement progress

NORWALK, Conn. – Progress is being made in the discussions between the Al Madany Islamic Center and Norwalk, but a federal judge has not yet been convinced to grant an extension, a source close to the situation said.

The Common Council is holding an executive session at 5 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the situation, Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola said. A motion for more time in the case was filed Monday, according to the federal courts website. There is a phone conference scheduled for Thursday afternoon with Judge Michael Shea, the website says.

Norwalk Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola
Norwalk Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola addresses the public at last week’s Common Council meeting.

The judge wants to see what is going on, the source said. At this point, the parties are still under the same time constraints they referred to in the Zoning Commission public hearing, the source said.

Shea set, on Sept. 8, a deadline of Friday for both parties to submit a status report.

The source said the parties are talking about the “additional concerns” that were raised in both meetings.

The council tabled the expected vote on the settlement, citing the offer made by Al Madany spokesman Farhan Memon to put a two-year moratorium on building a mosque to allow time to find another location, if the settlement were approved, as well as a need to digest the enormous amount of information it has been provided.

As reported here Sept. 4, the court denied an earlier request for an extension of the deadlines for trial preparation, absent an extraordinary showing. Fact discovery must be completed by Oct. 21, including all depositions of many fact witnesses. Prior to the Counsel’s decision to table the proposal, Attorney Joseph Williams, part of the city’s legal team, said, “There is not a formal deadline for settlement, but if either body rejects the settlement, I would expect the parties to need to devote their full time and energy to preparing the case for a trial in fairly short order.”

At least one member of the Al Madany Islamic Center has taken offense at suggestions that another site be found.

“We don’t want to go to South Norwalk!” a man shouted at last week’s council meeting. Another member of the center escorted him from the room, as shown in the above video clip by Harold Cobin.

Comments

5 responses to “No extension yet, but Norwalk Council, judge to discuss Al Madany settlement progress”

  1. anon

    Approving a settlement first in exchange for a 2 year settlement is the worst scenario for Norwalk. It de-fangs Norwalk’s negotiating, adds 2 years of uncertainty to stability in West Norwalk and retains the threat of drawn out litigation for the entire town.

    2 years would also conveniently push this issue forward for Mayor Rilling; given the mosque leadership affinity for Rilling, one can’t help but wonder if that’s partly behind the 2 year offer.

    No settlement, 6 months look for a new location, if that doesn’t work, move forward on litigation.

  2. Jeff

    What’s wrong with South Norwalk? Sounds discriminatory to me. . . oh forgot, we’re the ones being sued on those grounds.

  3. Scott

    Since when is Wall St. and Belden Ave. and Mott Ave. South Norwalk?

  4. Tim D

    As a resident of “South Norwalk” I kinda took offense when she said it at the meeting. I, for one, would want to know why South Norwalk? And Where, Diane?

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Tim D

      Ms. Lauricella did not suggest South Norwalk. The remark was made by a man in the crowd in response to her suggesting finding another site. We have not heard anyone say publicly, in a public meeting, that the mosque should be put in South Norwalk.

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