The US Department of Justice is investigating the City of Mobile. In a letter sent last month, the DOJ told city officials they’re starting an investigation into the city council’s rejection of a meditation center at a home along Dog River.
Last January, it was a fight between inner peace and a peaceful neighborhood. Now the conflict continues. News 5 obtained this four-page letter the Department of Justice sent to city officials saying they’re starting an investigation into that denial of the Meditation Center. In the document, US Attorney Kenyen Brown wrote that the investigation will “focus on how the city’s zoning law treats religious land use….”
It’s so early that the feds have “not made any determination as to whether there has been a violation…” Lar Nimit with the Meditation Center says she’s happy the Justice Department is looking into their case.
“We’ve been to many hearings and been denied so we’re happy to see the Justice Department take action,” said Nimit. This document only pertains to city practices. It doesn’t mention the homeowners along Eloong Drive. Their objections to the project remain the same. The facility would be too big for the narrow street.
“It’s never been a religious thing our main concern is they’re building a 2,400 square foot building and two outbuildings,” said homeowner Mike Mutascio. It’s not clear what’s next. The DOJ could look into this and determine there’s no violation of federal law and do nothing. They could reach a compromise with the city of Mobile or there could be a federal lawsuit. Until something happens, we don’t know what’s going to happen.
I reached out to City Council President Gina Gregory who did confirm she got the letter but couldn’t comment because it’s an ongoing investigation.
City Spokesman George Talbot sent me the following statement: “We are in contact with the Department of Justice regarding their investigation and are cooperating fully. We expect a speedy resolution once all the facts are known.”