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NYC Mosque Investor Rejects Trump's Buyout Offer

Donald Trump's offer to buy an investor's stake where a mosque is planned near ground zero is falling flat.

Pedestrians walk by 45 Park Place in Manhattan, the proposed site for an Islamic center and mosque in New York City. Jewish community leaders, rabbis and others gathered in front of the building where the Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center would be housed to support the plan.
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Pedestrians walk by 45 Park Place in Manhattan, the proposed site for an Islamic center and mosque in New York City. Jewish community leaders, rabbis and others gathered in front of the building where the Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center would be housed to support the plan.

Wolodymyr Starosolsky is a lawyer for the investor in the real estate partnership that controls the site. He said Trump's offer is "just a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight."

In a letter released Thursday by Trump's publicist, Trump told Hisham Elzanaty he would buy his stake in the lower Manhattan building for 25 percent more than whatever he paid.

Trump said he's making the offer not because he thinks the location is spectacular, but because it would end "a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation." Click here for a copy of Trump's letter to Elzanaty.

Critics say building a mosque so close to where Islamic extremists brought down the World Trade Center would be an insult.

Florida Quran-Burning Canceled, Pastor Says

Separately, a Florida imam denied that a deal was reached to move the site of the proposed mosque in exchange for a Florida minister to call off plans to burn Qurans.

Imam Muhammad Musri told The Associated Press that what he offered was a meeting among the Rev. Terry Jones, the New York imam planning the Islamic center and himself to talk about the mosque location.

Jones called off the planned Quran-burning late Thursday.

Musri is president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida. He said he told Jones that he agrees that the mosque should not be built near the World Trade Center site and would do everything in his power to make sure it is moved.

Jones said he believes a deal was reached to move the mosque and would fly to New York Saturday to discuss it.

"We are, of course, now against any other group burning Qurans," Jones said during a news conference. "We would right now ask no one to burn Qurans. We are absolutely strong on that. It is not the time to do it."

The Pentagon confirmed that Defense Secretary Robert Gates called Jones and urged him not to burn copies of the Quran.

Press secretary Geoff Morrell said Thursday's call to Pastor Jones was very brief. He said Gates expressed "his grave concern" that the burning of the Muslim holy book would put the lives of U.S. troops at risk, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Morrell declined to characterize Jones' response. Jones had earlier said that a call from the Pentagon might make him reconsider his planned to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.