Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said officials rejected his group's request to light up the landmark in blue and white lights for the 100th anniversary of Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa's birth, despite the building frequently being lit in a similar fashion for other occasions, ABC News reported Thursday.
"To stiff Mother Teresa while giving this honor to every other Tom, Dick and Harry is not going to sit well with Catholics," Donohue said.
Donohue said the letter from building owner Malkin Holdings did not give any explanation and the Catholic League has amassed 40,000 signatures and the support of at least two City Council members in its quest to convince Malkin to change course.
Anthony Malkin, president and chief executive of Malkin Holdings, released a statement Wednesday explaining the building is lit up for the religious celebrations of Easter, Eid al-Fitr, Hanukkah and Christmas.
"As a privately owned building, ESB has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations," he said.