City Councilmembers Monday slammed Jared Kushner's real estate company, charging it waged a coordinated harassment campaign to drive out rent-stabilized tenants.
Barely a month after losing his top-security clearance and access to the most valued US intelligence report, the President's Daily Brief, senior White House adviser and President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has once again found himself at the center of a raging controversy - this time regarding his actions as the CEO of his family's massive real estate empire. His top-secret security clearance was downgraded last month amid heightened scrutiny over how his financial holdings may have influenced his actions on behalf of the White House.
Kushner Cos. filed more than 80 documents for buildings across New York City stating they had no rent-regulated units when there were actually hundreds, the Associated Press reported on March 18, citing a study by the nonprofit Housing Rights Initiative. The paperwork, filed between 2013 and 2016, claimed that none of the units were rent-regulated, however more than 300 of the units were rent-regulated, according to tax documents.
Almost all the permit applications were signed by a Kushner employee, sometimes by its chief operating officer.
In Kushner buildings across the city, records show frequent complaints about construction going on early in the morning or late at night against the rules, improper or illegal construction, and work without a permit.
Meanwhile, since none of the misleading documents bore Kushner's signatures, the company now claims he has plausible deniability as the paperwork was filed by third parties and reviewed by independent sources. Two years later, the company sold the complexes for almost double the price it paid to purchase them, the report said.
In response to the findings, several commenters labeled Kushner a "slumlord"-far from the first time the accusation has been levied at him".
"The scandal is not only the deception of Kushner Cos., the scandal is the dysfunction of the city bureaucracy", said Torres, chair of the city council's investigations committee.
"I know it's pretty awful, but we can help you get out", Siwek recalls the man saying.
The organization told the AP that Kushner Cos. filed at least 80 false applications for construction permits from 2013 to 2016, all of which indicated there were zero rent-regulated tenants in its buildings.
"It's bare-faced greed", Aaron Carr, founder of Housing Rights Initiative, told the AP.
"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", Carr said.
Jared Kushner was head of Kushner Cos at the time of the alleged false filings. Kushner is now a senior adviser in the White House.
The potential funding would have been directed to Kushner's financially troubled flagship property on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
"We won't tolerate landlords who use construction to harass tenants - no matter who they are", spokesperson Joseph Soldevere said. However, he has retained stakes in numerous firm's properties. A financial disclosure previous year showed he still owns a stake in Westminster and earned $1.6 million from it.
He also revealed he was subjected to a 60 percent rent hike.