Kushner Cos. filed false NYC housing paperwork

Pauline Gross
March 21, 2018

Housing Rights Initiative Executive Director Aaron Carr claimed that tenants endured around-the-clock construction, rodent infestations, potential asbestos exposure, black mold, collapsed buildings, and more.

- Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) March 19, 2018 Slumlord Jared Kushner bought buildings in NY and then filed at least 80 false documents with the city claiming it had no rent-regulated tenants so he could raise rents, push them out and re-sell the buildings for millions of dollars of profit. However, "Tax records filed a few months later showed the company inherited as many as 94 rent-regulated units from the previous owner", AP said.

By making such a false claim, Kushner Cos. avoided triggering more watchful oversight from New York City's Department of Buildings, who would have worked to prevent harassment of tenants living in these rent-controlled units.

They allege that over a four-year period Kushner Companies lied to the city Buildings Department about the number of rent-stabilized apartments in 34 of its buildings.

Bloomberg reports that while Kushner divested some of his assets when he joined the White House, his stakes in three Astoria, Queens, properties that are the focus of the AP report were not among them. The Associated Press reported Sunday that a tenant rights watchdog group found that the Kushner Cos. had filed more than 80 documents stating that it had no rent-regulated units in its buildings.

Current and former tenants of the Queens buildings tell the AP they dealt with extensive construction they believe was part of an effort to get them to move out.

In a statement, Kushner Companies said that its city government filings are handled by third parties and that "if mistakes or violations are identified, corrective action is taken immediately". "The right hand of city government didn't know what the left hand was doing".

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City Council member Ritchie Torres, who heads up the council's Committee on Oversight and Investigations, announced this morning that the committee will launch a joint investigation that looks into the prevalence of falsifying building permits, including (but not limited to) the ones found by HRI. Two years later, the company sold the complexes for almost double the price it paid to purchase them, the report said. The developer then made renovations and hiked the rents for the refurbished apartments.

Submitting false documents to the city's Department of Buildings for construction permits is a misdemeanour, which can carry fines of up to $25,000.

New York City's Department of Buildings did not comment in general about the false filings by the Kushner Cos., but said it disciplined a contractor who filed false documents while working on two of the Queens buildings, which are now under investigation by a tenant-harassment task force. Records show the company did file some amended documents, often more than a year later.

Exactly how much money the Kushner Cos. earned from the buildings mentioned in the documents is unclear.

White House adviser Jared Kushner, the husband of first daughter Ivanka Trump, was CEO of the operation during that time.

Kushner and his brother, Joshua, own real estate properties together through Kushner Cos. and other companies under Westminster Management.

Other reports by GizPress

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