On Monday, President-elect Trump officially named his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a senior White House adviser. Later that day, Mayor de Blasio praised Kushner during an unrelated press conference.
"About the person of Jared Kushner — I respect him a lot," de Blasio, who has opposed Trump, told reporters, as reported by Politico. "He's certainly someone I’ve been talking to over these last weeks. He's someone I intend to stay in touch with on behalf of the people of New York City. He's someone who really cares about New York City and is someone that would be very helpful to us. So I’m certainly pleased he’ll be in that role.
"And I can say clearly compared to many other people who've been named to other positions, I find him to be a lot more reasonable and a lot more moderate."
The mayor's praise and endorsement drew a response from two East Village-based community groups. Here's s a copy of the statement signed by Steve Herrick, executive director of the Cooper Square Committee, and Risa Shoup, executive director of Fourth Arts Block released yesterday:
Mayor de Blasio seems hopeful that his friendly relationship with Jared Kushner may be of some benefit to New York City, but our community has not benefited at all from Kushner’s ownership of close to forty buildings in the East Village.
Kushner has brought nothing but unaffordable, luxury housing to this community and to NYC at large. While we are in the grips of an intense housing crisis, and homeless rates are at an all-time high & virtually every regulated tenant in the city is facing harassment, Kushner has converted scores of affordable rent regulated apartments into luxury housing that rent for $3,000-$5,000 per month. In doing so, Kushner has faced allegations of harassment and lack of essential services repeatedly. Numerous articles have chronicled Kushner’s bad-acting over his four years of ownership here in East Village.
We say to the Mayor that Jared Kushner’s actions are not those of somebody who “cares deeply about New York City.” We say that Kushner’s actions have contributed greatly to the loss of affordable housing. Furthermore, if the Mayor stands by his words and thinks Jared Kushner is “reasonable and moderate,” we suggest the Mayor come meet with Kushner tenants in the East Village to hear what they’ve been through under his ownership.
There haven't been any shortage of tenant horror stories since Kushner started buying up properties here in 2013.
The Village Voice spoke with some of those tenants for a piece titled "Jared Kushner's East Village Tenants 'Horrified' Their Landlord Will Be Working in the White House."
Per the article:
"Trump's appointment of Kushner is in keeping with his cabinet selections of amoral billionaire crooks, liars, and thieves," says another East Village rent-stabilized tenant, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. "This guy's company preys on the feeble and infirm, lies, charges illegal late fees, puts tenants at risk in myriad ways, whose overall message to tenants is a shrug and a 'you get what pay for' re: heat, gas, hot water, modern plumbing, and electricity."
"We felt the complete lack of empathy and compassion from our landlord," she adds. "The whole country’s going to experience what we’ve been going through."
Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] Report: Jared Kushner buys $130 million portfolio of East Village rental buildings
Report: Jared Kushner paid $49 million for 7 more Ben Shaoul-owned properties in the East Village
More about Jared Kushner's East Village buying spree
Soon, we will all be writing our rent checks to Jared Kushner
Tenants claim: Kushner and Westminster want to destroy this building's beautiful garden
Reports outline how Kushner Companies is aggressively trying to empty 170-174 E. 2nd St.
Local politicos join residents of 2 Jared Kushner-owned buildings to speak out about poor living conditions, alleged harassment
Jared Kushner's residents at 118 E. 4th St. would like gas for cooking and some heat
Jared Kushner's East Village tenants wish he'd resolve issues closer to home