NY Attorney General to Meet With Tenants About Kushner Report

Jared Kushner

A NY politician and local tenants' group said on Monday they would launch an investigation into the real estate company formerly headed by Jared Kushner, a top aide to Donald Trump, over alleged falsification of building permits.

A watchdog group called the Housing Rights Initiative, which shared paperwork it compiled with the AP, found that Kushner's company filed at least 80 false construction permit applications from 2013-16 that claimed there were no rent-regulated tenants when that wasn't the case. Instead, tax documents show there were more than 300 rent-regulated units. But no matter how the false filings occurred, they provide insight into how the firm was able to purchase three Queens apartment buildings in 2015, quickly conduct renovations, raise the rent, and then sell the buildings for a multimillion-dollar profit just two years later.

Residential buildings with rent controls are worth less than those without and can merit greater oversight by New York City during construction. In those cases, Kushner allegedly skirted rent-stabilization rules by not registering those buildings as having the required number of rent-regulated units.

"It's bare-faced greed", said Aaron Carr, founder of the Housing Rights Initiative. "The fact that the company was falsifying all these applications with the government shows a sordid attempt to avert accountability and get a rapid return on its investment".

Kushner Cos., when reached for comment, blamed the false filings on third parties, claiming that it outsources document preparation. "Kushner would never deny any tenant their due process rights".

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Councilman Ritchie Torres said he'd launch an investigation to examine how Kushner Cos. Torres' aim is to turn the situation into an opportunity to strengthen regulatory oversight and fight back against what he referred to as "the weaponization of construction" against tenants.

Kushner Cos.is also being sued by tenants in Baltimore who complained of mold and unfixed damage in their apartments along with steep late fees and harassment over debts many had already paid, according to reporting by ProPublica, the New York Times, and the Baltimore Sun.

They made the allegations at a press conference in front of the 41-story tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan controlled by the Kushner Companies.

Charles Kushner said that he turned down financing from Qatari's finance minister because it may have presented a conflict of interest for Jared Kushner, an aide to Trump whose responsibilities at the time included forming a peace plan for Israel and the Middle East. Of those 34 buildings, only the three in Queens and a fourth in Brooklyn appear to have been sold. But he retained stakes in a number of properties, including Westminster Management, a subsidiary that oversees Kushner Cos.' residential holdings, from which he reportedly earned a tidy $1.6 million past year.

He hired a lawyer who found out he was protected from the 60-percent rent hike by law, something Romano did not know at the time. His stakes in the Cadre entities that owned the Queens properties weren't among the divested assets, according to a December financial disclosure filed by his wife, Ivanka Trump.

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