Kushner Cos is cooperating with Maryland probe of business
By BERNARD CONDON
Oct. 30, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) — The Kushner Cos. says it is cooperating with a request from the Maryland attorney general for information about its operations in the state following media reports critical of its treatment of tenants at apartments it owns there.
A spokesperson for Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh would neither confirm nor deny that the family real estate company once run by Jared Kushner was under investigation, but a statement from the company acknowledged that it is being probed.
"We have been working with the Maryland Attorney General's Office to provide information in response to its request," said spokesman Eric Wachter in an email. "We are in compliance with all state and local laws."
The Kushner Cos. was sued last month by two tenants alleging that it had charged them illegal fees. The suit described the charges as part of a fee-churning scheme that keeps renters under constant fear of eviction. It is seeking class action status.
The Kushner Cos. has said it will fight the lawsuit and has done nothing wrong.
The company's ownership of garden apartments has drawn scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers, too. They requested thousands of pages of documents in August about the apartment complexes, citing news reports describing poor conditions in some buildings and what tenants allege is aggressive debt collection practices.
The news that Attorney General Frosh was investigating the Kushner Cos. was reported earlier by CNN.
Jared Kushner stepped down as CEO of the family business before joining the White House as a senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. Kushner sold some of his holdings to avoid potential conflicts between his role shaping public policy and his family business, but a financial statement released in July showed he still had an ownership stake in the subsidiary responsible for the apartments, Westminster Properties.
The report showed he received $1.6 million in income from the holding.
The Kushner Cos. owns an office tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and has partners with other companies in big commercial and residential buildings in Brooklyn and Jersey City, New Jersey, but the company got its start with garden apartments in the suburbs and still has substantial holdings.
In September, the Kushner Cos. announced it had bought a garden apartment complex near Princeton, New Jersey, adding to its holdings of about 20,000 apartments in multifamily buildings in six states. The company has said it is looking to buy other apartment complexes across the country.