After purchasing three apartment buildings in Astoria, Queens, in 2015, Kushner Cos. filed false paperwork with the city of New York, claiming that there were zero rent-regulated tenants in the buildings when there were as many as 94, The Associated Press reports.
President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner stepped down as CEO of his family business last year, after spending three years in the role. Aaron Carr, founder of the watchdog group Housing Rights Initiative, found that from 2013 to 2016, Kushner Cos. filed at least 80 false applications for construction permits in 34 buildings across New York City, and Carr passed along the paperwork to AP. All of the documents said there were no rent-regulated tenants in the buildings, despite tax documents showing there were more than 300. Nearly every document was signed by an employee of Kushner Cos., including in some cases the chief operating officer.
When there are rent-regulated tenants in a building, the city keeps an eye on construction crews to make sure they are not pressuring residents to move out so new tenants can come in and pay higher rents. Current and former residents of the three Queens buildings told AP they had to endure leaking water, drilling, and loud noises throughout the construction work in their buildings, and in some cases their rent was increased by 60 percent and they felt they were pushed out. In 2017, the buildings were sold for $60 million, nearly 50 percent more than Kushner Cos. paid.
Carr told AP it was "bare-faced greed," and "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." In a statement to AP, Kushner Cos. said it outsources the preparation of documents to third parties and "if mistakes or violations are identified, corrective action is taken immediately."