Donald Trump, whose attempts to build a catering hall on the Jones Beach boardwalk have been tied up in litigation for five years, is scheduled to speak at a rally at the state park Aug. 31 organized by a group pushing for its construction.
The newly formed Alliance to Revitalize Jones Beach, which claims to have no ties to Trump, is holding the rally at the Central Mall site of the proposed facility at 11 a.m. on Aug. 31.
"When we get Trump on the Ocean built, it will be a beautiful addition to the shoreline on Jones Beach," said Rafe Lieber of Plainview, founder of the alliance, said in a statement Thursday. "Nassau citizens need to unite and fight against governmental red tape, which stops economic growth in the form of real estate and construction."
"Who knows better than Donald Trump when it comes to seeking out worthwhile opportunities while doing his part to help stimulate the economy?" Lieber said.
Trump has agreed to speak and meet supporters of the project. "I am honored by the support shown by this alliance," he said in the statement.
Lieber, who works for a Carle Place title insurance company, predicted that Trump on the Ocean would create 300 new jobs over two years and stimulate the economy by $60 million.
Five years after the state signed a lease with Trump, the project is nothing more than a hole in the ground because of lawsuits and appeals between Trump and the state over his attempt to get permits to build a structure with a basement in a flood zone.
In June, Trump lost his final appeal to get $500 million in damages from the state for the delays. Two other cases are pending.
"There was an approved design in place as early as 2008, but instead of proceeding, the Trump Organization initiated three lawsuits," parks spokeswoman Sally Drake said when the alliance was announced earlier this month.
Lieber has said he is not taking sides in the dispute and will seek support from civic and other organizations to push the parties to settle the dispute.
But while Trump was invited and is coming, state parks spokesman Peter Brancato said "they have not reached out to us" to send a representative to speak.
Lieber responded, "We have invited state elected officials to attend and we want to keep the state involved every step of the way."