The Associated Press has just reported that Jared Kushner’s real estate business in New York City was partially built on illegally kicking out tenants from rent-controlled buildings that he bought. He was able to get away with these illegal — but very profitable — actions by falsifying the reports he filed with the city.
According to the AP, “The Kushner Companies routinely filed false paperwork with the city declaring it had zero rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned across the city when, in fact, it had hundreds.”
The AP’s analysis of the situation shows the Kushner Companies operating in ways that are at the very least extremely unethical. If the allegations are true then much of what Kushner did was also fraudulent and in violation of city law.
“It’s bare-faced greed,” said Aaron Carr, founder of Housing Rights Initiative, a tenants’ rights group. “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.”
As an example, in 2015 Kushner bought three apartment buildings in a neighborhood in Queens where property values were thought to be increasing rapidly. In these buildings most of the current tenants were protected by laws prohibiting Kushner from raising rents.
But raise the rents is exactly what Kushner’s company did, so that when the buildings were sold just two years later he was able to make a profit of $30 million on the sale.
A Kushner Companies spokesperson told the Associated Press that it “has renovated thousands of apartments and developments with minimal complaints over the past 30 years.”
But The Housing Rights Initiative said they have evidence of at least 80 false applications filed by the Kushner Companies for construction permits from 2013 to 2016. These falsified applications were signed by an employee of Kushner, and not Jared Kushner himself, according to the AP.