While Jared Kushner may not be a Trump by blood, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind at this point that he’s certainly adopted the crime family’s shady, corrupt way of life.
According to brutal reporting (for Kushner, anyway) the property management subsidiary of Jared Kushner’s family real estate company has agreed to pony up a whopping $3.25 million fine, paid to the state of Maryland, in connection to multiple complaints and allegations lodged against the Kushner family’s Baltimore-area apartment complexes for imprudent and outrageous fees and exorbitant rent prices they were forced to pay over the course of the last decade in order to live in the shoddy apartment units that regularly suffered extensive maintenance problems that were never properly addressed.
As if the $3 million-plus fines weren’t bad enough on the Kushner family’s shady real estate business, Trump’s son-in-law has also agreed to pay up in reimbursements to the tens of thousands of tenants who were forced to suffer under his slumlord reign or terror.
The hefty settlement hails from a 2019 lawsuit that the Maryland state Attorney General brought against the subsidiary, Westminster Management. In their lawsuit, the state accuses the Kushner family company of engaging in “unfair or deceptive” rental practices that stood in direct violation of Maryland’s consumer protection laws. The lawsuit states that the Kushner family-owned real estate subsidiary “violated” their tenants, “many of whom are financially vulnerable, at all stages of offering and leasing.”
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Maryland’s Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh held a press conference in Baltimore, where he announced the settlement:
This is a case in which landlords deceived and cheated tenants and subjected them to miserable living conditions. These were not wealthy people. Many struggled to pay the rent, to put food on the table, to take care of their kids, to keep everybody healthy, and Westminster used its vastly superior economic power to take advantage of them.”
Kushner Companies has since unloaded and sold off the majority of their properties and unsurprisingly didn’t respond when contacted with requests for comments on the settlement. However, the company did release a statement to the Baltimore Banner, saying, “Westminster is pleased to have settled this litigation with no admission of liability or wrongdoing. We look forward to moving past this matter so that we can focus on our ever-expanding real estate portfolio.”
AG Frosh was understandably not accepting of the Kushner company’s flippant characterization of their slumlord practices. “You don’t pay three million two hundred and fifty thousand bucks if you’re not liable,” Frosh blistered. “They may not have formally signed a piece of paper saying that they did it, but they did.”
The lawsuit came to fruition in the aftermath of a May 2017 article co-published by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine that blew the lid off the Kushner company’s sickening treatment of tenants in their apartment complexes — including their tactic of hauling hundreds of both current and former renters into court over unpaid rent and broken leases, even if the tenants had already moved out of the properties long before the Kushner family company even purchased them. The article also shed damning light on the slum-like conditions of the properties, including mice, leaky roofs, and rampant mold that was rarely, if ever addressed and rectified by the company.
During the press conference Frosh, joined by two former tenants, further exposed the squalid living conditions at the Kushner-owned properties — including images and descriptions of mushrooms growing out of control beside a toilet, mice living inside broken ovens, gas leaks, and a unit that had water pouring out of the kitchen wall for months “to the point where there was a small pond in my kitchen and living area.”
Frosch also exposed internal emails between the complex’s community manager and the director of construction at Kushner Companies, proving that the higher-ups of the company were made well aware of the dangerous, disgusting conditions that poverty-stricken tenants were being forced to live in.
Taking a page straight from his father-in-law’s playbook, Kushner’s company originally dubbed the lawsuit a politically motivated stunt meant to embarrass the son-in-law of the then-sitting US president, Donald Trump. However, as the litigation grew and a ruling was delivered by the administrative law judge, the Kushner-owned company tucked tail and agreed to enter negotiations with the state, with Frosch stating, “It became very clear that they had done wrong and we were not going to let them off the hook.”
In the end, Kushner’s family company may ultimately be forced to fork over far more than the $3.25 million settlement, as there is no limit on the amount of restitution the special master can order the company to pay to their victims. As it stands, $800,000 of the $3.25 million fine will be allotted as a down payment on the restitution.
Tiffany Dixon, one of the former Kushner property tenants who joined Frosch at his press conference said, “I wasn’t looking for financial gain. I was just looking for justice. I was looking for someone to acknowledge the negligence so that other people didn’t have to endure what we did.”
Featured image via screen capture