As The New York Times first reported, the DOB cited Kushner for 42 violations in which it submitted false permit information in those 17 buildings, "where many of the tenants were protected from steep rent increases and eviction."
Landlords are required in New York City to disclose whether tenants in their buildings are rent regulated to obtain a construction permit. This requirement is designed to safeguard rent-regulated tenants from harassment. Unscrupulous landlords sometimes push out rent-protected tenants so they can sharply increase rents on those units.
A DOB spokesperson told The Real Deal that "the falsifications were a matter of not disclosing the existence of rent-stabilized tenants." Among the properties: 331-335 E. Ninth St. (pictured) and 211 Avenue A.
In a statement to TRD, the Kushner Cos. blamed the misfiled paperwork on a third party. Per that statement: "No fines were assessed against the company [yesterday]. There were some violations issued for paperwork errors of the same type identified back in March and as we noted then, the company relied on third party consultants for the preparation of these forms and if in error they have been corrected or will be. In no case did the company act in disregard of the safety of our tenants."
The Associated Press first reported in March about the Kushner Cos. allegedly routinely filing false paperwork with the city declaring that it had zero rent-regulated tenants in buildings it owns when, in fact, they had hundreds.
Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Trump, resigned as head of the Kushner Cos. after joining the White House as a senior adviser in 2016. His father Charles Kushner is currently running the company. The published reports note that the false applications were filed while Jared was at the helm.
Also yesterday, the DOB confirmed that they’re investigating complaints by tenant advocates against an investment group led by Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer, for similar violations.
Per the Times:
At 172 Rivington Street, for example, the Cohen group indicated that there were no rent-regulated tenants in the 20-unit building, after the company purchased it in October 2011 for $2.1 million. But records indicated that there were 19 protected tenants there, but only 11 remained after the Cohen group sold the building three years later for $10 million.
As the Times noted, neither Cohen nor the Kushner Cos. have been cited for tenant harassment.