Kushner Cos. accused of false filings about NYC apartments

Jared Kushner stepped down as CEO of the Kushner Cos. last year before taking on his advisory role at the White House

Jared Kushner stepped down as CEO of the Kushner Cos. last year before taking on his advisory role at the White House

Kushner Companies, with the Trump son-in-law in charge, did the same for many other real estate properties, checking the box of documents that claimed the buildings had no rent-regulated tenants when there were hundreds of them, thus not complying with the New York City disclosure rules.

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.

Kushner Cos. apparently did the same thing in the East Village in 2013, claiming that a six-story walk-up had zero rent-regulated tenants when, in fact, there were seven of them. After almost 75 percent of those tenants were displaced, Kushner Cos. sold the buildings for $60 million, a 50% profit. In three Queens buildings Kushner Cos. purchased in 2015, the company filed false statements about 94 rent-regulated apartments.

When the sheer torture of round-the-clock construction wasn't enough to drive out residents, rent-controlled tenants say Kushner Companies resorted to more desperate measures.

The Housing Rights Initiative, a NY tenants-rights organization which uses "a data driven and systematic approach to investigating real estate fraud and connecting tenants to legal support", discovered the relevant documents, which were then compared against tax records to reveal the discrepancies.

"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".

"If mistakes or typographical errors are identified, corrective action is taken immediately with no financial benefit to the company".

Submitting false documents to the DoB is considered a misdemeanor with potential fines set at a maximum of $25,000, but if amendments are made to correct the false information, experts told AP most landlords are not penalized for the misinformation. HRI found that Kushner Cos. amended dozens of the forms, sometimes a year or two after their initial filing, well after tenants had left their apartments. Until officials inspect every construction site, "you're going to have this incentive for landlords to make life uncomfortable for tenants".

Kushner Cos. previously blamed the inaccurate paperwork on a third party that filed the documents.

Councilman Ritchie Torres says that the Department of Buildings should have spotted the falsified numbers because paperwork at the city taxation agency contradicted them.

These buildings aren't the only ones that Kushner Cos.is accused of lying about. The attorney general has repeatedly clashed with Kushner's father-in-law, President Donald Trump, in unrelated legal fights. But he retained stakes in many properties, including Westminster Management, the Kushner Cos. subsidiary that oversees its residential properties. But financial disclosures past year showed he still owns a stake in Westminster Management, the Kushner subsidiary that oversees its residential properties, and earned $1.6m from the holding.

Back in Queens, the mailman Romano was one of the few rent-regulated tenants who fought back.

"I still haven't gotten rid of them".

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