Showing posts with label Jared Kushner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jared Kushner. Show all posts

Monday, March 30, 2020

Report: These 9th Street tenants don't have to pay rent until building has C/O, judge rules


[Photo by Steven]

ICYMI: Tenants at 331 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue will not have to pay rent until their landlord, Kushner Companies, secures a certificate of occupancy for the building.

Details via The Real Deal:

Residents of the building at 331 East 9th Street will also be allowed to stay in their apartments without paying any back rent, according to the decision that State Supreme Court Judge Frances Ortiz handed down ...

The nine-unit East Village property is one of several that Housing Rights Initiative and Bronx Councilmember Ritchie Torres announced Kushner was operating illegally at a press conference last March.

The property was built around 1900, meaning it was exempted from the city’s certificate of occupancy requirement, according to HRI. However, after buying the building in 2013 for $20.25 million, Kushner Companies added a floor to build luxury penthouses, a substantial alteration that meant the property would now require a certificate of occupancy, HRI said.

Ortiz agreed with this in his ruling, writing that “the addition of an entire floor on the top of the building constitutes a substantial alteration, thereby requiring petitioners to obtain a C of O for the entire building.” He added that “no rent is collectible by the petitioner [Kushner] when a building lacks a valid certificate of occupancy.”

The real estate company never received a permanent certificate of occupancy because of building code violations, according to HRI. The housing watchdog group helped the building’s tenants organize and refuse to pay rent.

Kushner Cos. COO Peter Febo said the the judge's ruling was wrong. They plan on appealing once courts reopen after the coronavirus crisis.

The Kushners started buying up East Village buildings in early 2013.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Trash talk on 7th Street



Someone has made homemade signs pointing out who is managing the buildings on Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue where the trash routinely overflows on the sidewalk...



The signs are in front of buildings owned by the Kushner Companies and managed by its subsidiary Westminster, per a tipster on the block... (they note "A Kushner Production")









Per the tipster: "They refuse to hire a super on Sundays to prevent this mess every week. And the fine from sanitation is less than what they’d pay him anyway. Saving money by trashing the hood."

Last March, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Kushner Companies, formerly led by current White House adviser Jared Kushner, planned to sell five of the 30-plus buildings in their East Village portfolio.

The company was also accused of illegally operating nine apartment buildings in the East Village and Williamsburg, according to an investigation by City Council member Ritchie Torres and the watchdog group Housing Rights Initiative. A DOB spokesperson told the Associated Press that the issues stemmed from "paperwork lapses" and characterized the investigation as "pure grandstanding."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Kushner selling 5 East Village buildings; report cites illegal occupation in EV properties


[EVG compilation of Kushner-owned EV buildings from 2013]

The Wall Street Journal reports that Kushner Cos. has hired a broker to market five apartment buildings with a total of around 100 units in the East Village.

As the paper reports, the company, formally headed by current White House adviser Jared Kushner, remains under fire from New York politicians and tenant activists, and is increasingly looking at buying properties in suburban areas.

Per the Journal:

The firm has sold 10 properties for more than $1.5 billion in New York and was the buyer of one since January 2017, according to Real Capital Analytics. That is when then-Chief Executive Jared Kushner left to join the White House as President Trump’s senior adviser.

Over this same period, the firm has spent more than $1.4 billion in a series of transactions for properties primarily in suburban Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and other states, RCA data shows.

And...

Even with the recent sales and its plan to sell another 100 apartment units in the East Village, Kushner Cos. still owns a sizable portfolio in New York City. That includes apartment buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn, a downtown office building, a lending business and the lower floors of the former New York Times building.

It's not known at the moment which East Village properties will be sold. One estimate puts the number of Kushner-owned East Village buildings at 31. (Only Steve Croman reportedly owns more East Village buildings.)

Meanwhile, City Councilmember Ritchie Torres held a press conference yesterday to announce the results of an investigation alleging that Kushner Cos. is operating eight East Village rental buildings illegally. (The Journal article went to press before the results of this report were cited by other media outlets.)

Per The Real Deal:

Torres said that his investigation, launched in cooperation with the nonprofit Housing Rights Initiative, found the buildings had expired certificates of occupancy, meaning tenants should not be allowed to live in the properties.

The buildings, according to HRI’s Aaron Carr, have unpaid fines stemming from violations and unauthorized construction, which prevents Kushner Companies from being able to obtain a COO.

Torres and Carr called on the city to quickly ensure these buildings are safe.

A spokesperson for Kushner Cos. said the firm is "committed to the safety of our residents and the proper maintenance of our buildings. Similar to many other landlords, we inherited from prior owners Certificates of Occupancy with various issues. Kushner will continue the long and detailed process to work with our consultants and the Department of Buildings to correct every issue outstanding."

The DOB blasted the report from Torres and Carr, accusing the two of "pure grandstanding," as Curbed reported. A DOB spokesperson said their investigation "identified nothing more than paperwork lapses that have nothing to do with tenant safety."

The Kushners started buying up East Village buildings in early 2013.

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

Tenants claim: Kushner and Westminster want to destroy this building's beautiful garden

Jared Kushner not done buying every walk-up in the East Village

Reports outline how Kushner Companies is aggressively trying to empty 170-174 E. 2nd St.

Report: 9th Street resident battling with Kushner Cos. to clean up black mold infestation

Jared Kushner's East Village tenants wish he'd resolve issues closer to home

How many East Village properties do the Kushner Cos. actually own?

Report: Kushner Co. filed false paperwork with the city over number of rent-regulated tenants

New state legislation aims to combat predatory equity

Report: Residents of Kushner-owned 118 E. 4th St. learn building had 10X legal levels of lead

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Report: Residents of Kushner-owned 118 E. 4th St. learn building had 10X legal levels of lead


[Image via Streeteasy]

The following report was released last week via the Cooper Square Committee and the Lead Dust Free New York City coalition.

Tenants of 118 E. Fourth St. recently received notice that work crews hired by Jared Kushner’s Westminster City Living contaminated their building with lead-laden construction dust. The contamination was the result of unchecked dust from demolition work being performed in the building.

A report issued by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from November shows elevated levels of lead in four of the five samples collected in the building. The sample with the highest level was nearly 10X (383 µg/ft2) the acceptable standards prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for floors/treads of 39 µg/ft2.

In the fall of 2015, tenants of 118 E. Fourth St. endured bouts of no heat, mounting trash, and a longstanding cooking gas outage. The tenants then filed an HP Action in January 2016 for repairs and services to be restored. A motion was also filed in court to hold Westminster in contempt of court due to the lack of restoration of services.

Tenants of 118 E. Fourth St. and the Lead Dust Free NYC coalition are now calling the unsafe conditions to be remedied immediately and for safe work practices to be put in place for all work being performed. Tenants, advocates and elected officials are calling on the City to improve enforcement around lead and to increase penalties for landlords who contaminate buildings.

Many provisions with NYC’s lead laws, Local Law 1 of 2004, are not being utilized by the City. A City Council hearing in September of this year called to attention major deficits within the enforcement and regulations surrounding Local Law 1.

"I was in my apartment on a day when they began demolition. A dust cloud invaded my entire apartment from the demolition happening in the apartment below me. I felt a burning in back of my throat along with feeling of grit. I decided to leave for my own safety," said David Dupuis, a tenant of No. 118 for 35 years. "When I returned in the evening, the halls and everything in my apartment was completely covered in dust. The burning sensation at the back of my throat lasted for days."

You can find the full release, including comments from elected local officials, as well as the health department's report from November, at this link.

In an article on the report for The Villager, a spokesperson for the Kushner Companies said: "As soon as we were alerted to the condition, we instructed the contractor responsible to immediately clean the public areas and to implement stricter measures to prevent construction dust or debris from escaping the work area. Kushner always uses a lead-certified contractor who fully complies with the law."

Kushner bought the buildings during his East Village land grab in February 2013.

Previously on EV Grieve:
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

Get the lead out: Tenants call for protections from lead dust during renovations

Tenant activists praise lead reform, urge for more protections from city against predatory landlords

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Noted



An EVG reader shared this spray-painted marker from outside a building owned by the Kushner Cos. on Avenue A.

The message reads in part: "Jared Kushner owns this building. Know your enemy."

Not sure how widespread these are. I walked by four other Kushner-owned properties and didn't spot similar messages. One estimate puts the number of Kushner-owned East Village buildings at 31. (Only Steve Croman reportedly owns more East Village buildings.)

Jared Kushner stepped away from running the family real-estate business when he entered the White House in January 2017 to work for his father-in-law.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Jared Kushner not done buying every walk-up in the East Village

Reports outline how Kushner Companies is aggressively trying to empty 170-174 E. 2nd St.

Jared Kushner's East Village tenants wish he'd resolve issues closer to home

Report: Kushner Co. filed false paperwork with the city over number of rent-regulated tenants

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Report: DOB fines Kushner Cos. for falsifying dozens of permit applications

According to published reports, the Department of Buildings (DOB) yesterday fined Kushner Cos. $210,000 for falsifying dozens of permit applications at 17 properties they own, including in the East Village.

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.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

New state legislation aims to combat predatory equity



Local elected officials introduced joint legislation on Sunday targeting the practice of predatory equity.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and various tenants and advocates were present at a press conference outside the office of Westminster Management, a Kushner Companies subsidiary, on 12th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. There, they discussed the legislation, which directs the New York State Department of Finanical Services (DFS) to collect data on financial institutions that lend to property owners with the intent to displace current tenants.

Per the announcement:

Specifically, the bill requires DFS to investigate the role financial institutions play in encouraging anti-tenant practices by notorious landlords like Jared Kushner, Steve Croman and Raphael Toledano.

Similar to the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008, lax underwriting standards and a general lack of transparency have allowed speculators and real estate agents to secure outsized mortgages with very little discretion and oversight. Owners use these loans to make purchases based on unrealistic projections of rising rents, and in turn have difficulty paying the mortgages.

Building owners — anxious to recoup on their hefty investments — often resort to abusive and exploitative tactics to drive rent-regulated tenants out. These abusive practices, known as predatory equity, are best-exemplified by figures like Steve Croman and Jared Kushner.

In the fall of 2015, after the Daily News reported that the state was investigating Toledano for tenant harassment at 444 E. 13th St., he received two loans totaling $124 million from private equity firm Madison Realty Capital to buy and renovate a 16-building East Village portfolio.

Per The Real Deal in an article last July:

The leverage on the deal — which clocked in at 128 percent compared to the typical 50 to 65 percent on a New York City multifamily deal — raises questions about how culpable lenders are in perpetuating harassment. In short, are they turning a blind eye when their borrowers too-aggressively push to turn rent-stabilized apartments into luxury units?

Pressured to generate income from the buildings to pay off his loans, Toledano reportedly attempted widespread buyouts. And many of the tenants at the buildings accused him of harassment.

"No longer can we allow landlords like Kushner, Croman and Toledano to force our neighbors out of their homes in order to make a quick buck," Hoylman said in a statement. "We demand that New York State investigate the practice of predatory equity so we can take the necessary steps to protect rent regulated tenants from harassment and eviction."



Said the recently elected Epstein: "This legislation will bring us closer to stopping the practice of predatory equity before it starts the cycle of tenant harassment and displacement that has become all too familiar in our city. Bad actor landlords and scheming financiers should take note: your days of destabilizing our neighborhoods with your shady business practices are numbered."

Croman was released from jail on Friday after serving eight months of a year-long sentence for fraud.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Raphael Toledano files for Chapter 11; $145 million deal for EV portfolio is off the table

Raphael Toledano tenants take to Midtown streets to speak out against their landlord and his lenders

Monday, March 19, 2018

Report: Kushner Co. filed false paperwork with the city over number of rent-regulated tenants

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Jared Kushner’s Kushner Cos. routinely filed false paperwork with the city declaring that it had zero rent-regulated tenants in buildings it owns when, in fact, they had hundreds.

A tenants' right watchdog group, Housing Rights Initiative, compiled the work-permit application documents and shared them with the AP.

In addition, the AP points out what has been previously covered in other outlets: In Kushner buildings across the city, records show frequent complaints about construction going on early in the morning or late at night against the rules, improper or illegal construction, and work without a permit.

Here's a passage about a tenant in 170-174 E. Second St.:

At a six-story walk-up in Manhattan’s East Village that was once home to the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, the Kushner Cos. filed an application to begin construction in late 2013 that, again, listed zero rent-regulated tenants. Tax records a few months later showed seven rent-regulated units.

"All of a sudden, there was drilling, drilling. ... You heard the drilling in the middle of night," said one of the rent-regulated tenants, Mary Ann Siwek, 67, who lives on Social Security payments and odd jobs. "There were rats coming in from the abandoned building next door. The hallways were always filled with lumber and sawdust and plaster."

A knock on the door came a few weeks later, and an offer of at least $10,000 if she agreed to leave the building.

"I know it's pretty horrible, but we can help you get out," Siwek recalls the man saying. "We can offer you money."

Siwek turned down the cash and sued instead. She said she won a year's worth of free rent and a new refrigerator.

Read the full AP piece here.

For their part, Kushner Cos. told the AP in a statement that it outsources the work-permit preparation to third parties that are reviewed by independent counsel, and "if mistakes or violations are identified, corrective action is taken immediately." The statement added: "Kushner would never deny any tenant their due-process rights."

Kushner currently serves as an adviser to his father-in-law, President Trump.

Updated

Here's a statement from City Councilmember Carlina Rivera...

“As the representative of a district with one of the highest rates of Kushner-owned property in the city, I am outraged to see the Trump family’s continued alleged criminal abuse of working-class New Yorkers. These alleged false work permits may come from the biggest name in corrupt real estate in this city, but Kushner is certainly not the first to allegedly commit this kind of fraud. The lax enforcement by DOB and HPD of these illegal filings has allowed not only Kushner, but also names like Croman, Tolidano, and countless other bad actors to plague the residents of my district for decades with clear-faced harassment disguised as permitted construction.

I have fought alongside activists for hundreds of residents who have lost their lifelong homes to the Kushner family’s harassment, and the city must take action to punish those responsible. I look forward to participating in the Council’s investigation into Kushner Cos., and I expect to hear from city agencies as to why this abuse of power continued for so long.”

Updated 3/20

According to reports, AG Eric Schneiderman will meet with tenant representatives affected by the alleged tactics of Kushner Cos.

File photo of 170-174 E. 2nd St.

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

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

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Report: 9th Street resident battling with Kushner Cos. to clean up black mold infestation

The Daily News has an update on Uta Winkler's ongoing legal fight with Kushner Cos. to clean up a black mold infestation in her Ninth Street apartment. (DNAinfo previously reported on her legal battle in December 2016.)

Winkler, a rent-stabilized tenant, said in court papers that her kitchen was destroyed several days before Thanksgiving in 2013 by construction workers renovating an unoccupied unit above her apartment.

To the News:

During the past year she has been locked in a legal fight in Manhattan housing court to get [Jared] Kushner’s real estate firm, Kushner Cos., to remediate the mold.

Even though an inspector she hired detected the spores in March, Winkler said she had to go to court several times before Kushner Cos. agreed to conduct its own mold test in the fall.

It took more court dates to get Kushner to agree to pick a remediator who will actually get rid of the mold — which has been shown to cause respiratory problems and to inflame allergies.

It’s still unclear when the remediator will actually make the fix, Winkler said.

“It’s harassment to get me out,” she said. Kushner Cos. did not respond to requests for comment.

Winkler had to endure more mayhem when she came home in late 2013 to find that a construction worker carrying dirty water and debris on the floor above hers had crashed through her bedroom ceiling, landing on her bed, court document said.

The fall destroyed her bed and other furniture, but Kushner's management firm, Westminster, refused to reimburse her for the damage or even return her calls, court papers said.

Without a response, Winkler withheld her monthly rent, which reportedly prompted Kushner to sue her for the unpaid rent in 2015 in Manhattan Housing Court. DNAinfo previously reported that the company also sued tenants in two other units, include new market-rate residents, in the building for also withholding rent because of the disruptions from construction. (Those two other tenants then each filed counter-suits against Kushner.)

Winkler's "suffering with Kushner" reportedly started shortly after Kushner bought the five-building parcel on Ninth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue in 2013.

The Kushner Cos. now own some 30-plus apartment buildings in the East Village

Per the News:

Tenants in several of these buildings have accused Kushner Cos. in court records of trying to drive them out through harassment, construction and dilapidated conditions.

State records also show that, in the past five years, the agency that oversees rent-stabilized and rent-controlled apartments has penalized Kushner Cos. in at least 11 instances over diminished services or poor conditions at one of its buildings in the city.

In those cases, the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal has ordered the monthly rent reduced for one or multiple rent-regulated units in the building until the problems were fixed.

Now even the lawyers Kushner worked with are taking the company to court. Several weeks ago, the News reported that Cornicello, Tendler & Baumel-Cornicello, a law firm that represented Kushner Cos. in dozens of eviction and housing court cases, is now suing Kushner for unpaid bills totaling more than $100,000.

As for Winkler: "For four years, they’re dragging me around, wasting money. I’m paying my lawyer constantly. It just makes no sense and it is so obnoxious."

Previously on EV Grieve:
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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How many East Village properties do the Kushner Cos. actually own?


[Compilation of Kushner-owned EV buildings from 2013]

Bloomberg delves into the Manhattan properties owned by Kushner Cos., including a large number in the East Village. In an article published yesterday, Bloomberg finds that, in 60 percent of the properties, the Kushners own less than half of each; in nearly half, they own less than 20 percent.

One estimate puts the number of Kushner-owned East Village buildings at 31. (Only Steve Croman reportedly owns more East Village buildings.)

So who actually owns these properties?

[T]he vast majority of the money behind the purchases didn’t belong to [Jared] Kushner or his family. Rather, it came from an obscure Israel-based company called Gaia Investments Corp. and related entities. Gaia has almost no public profile in New York real estate. Its principals have held roles in enterprises owned by the diamond-trading Steinmetz family, with close ties to Raz Steinmetz, the nephew of billionaire Beny Steinmetz.

A 2015 deal for 16 apartment buildings had a similar structure. Again, the Kushners were publicly credited with the acquisition, and again, most of the money belonged to someone else. The investors in this case, not previously reported, were C-III Capital Partners, a Texas-based asset manager run by Andrew Farkas...

From 2012 to 2015, Kushner Cos. purchased more than 40 Manhattan apartment buildings that they still own. In at least 80 percent of them, they’re minority partners to well-heeled investors.

Bloomberg notes that it's not unusual for landlords/developers to be minority owners of their properties or projects, serving instead as the public face for behind-the-scenes investors.

However, there's some concern in this case for the company, previously run by current White House adviser Jared Kushner.

Per Bloomberg:

The finding that the company is most often a junior owner heightens concern over conflicts-of-interest a year after Kushner entered the White House. As his family has hunted for investors overseas in countries as far-flung as China and Saudi Arabia, many inside and outside of government worry about the potential for quid-pro-quos — public policy driven by private business. In the partnerships where the Kushner Cos. have minor stakes, there’s pressure to make returns for the investors who put up most of the money.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Inside a classic East Village tenement before the whole building is renovated

Jared Kushner not done buying every walk-up in the East Village

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

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Report: Law firm files lawsuit against Jared Kushner for unpaid bills

Cornicello, Tendler & Baumel-Cornicello, a law firm that represented Jared Kushner’s real-estate company in dozens of eviction and housing court cases, is now suing him for unpaid bills, the Daily News reports.

Per the report:

The law team Cornicello, Tendler & Baumel-Cornicello filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court on Dec. 7 against Kushner Cos. and 19 of its subsidiaries that own or manage properties. Cornicello seeks $102,000 for work it did between December 2014 and May 31, 2015.

In 2014 and 2015, Cornicello represented Kushner properties in at least 32 landlord-tenant cases, mostly involving apartments in the East Village, records show.

A Westminster rep told the News that they are "working to resolve the matter."

As the News notes, East Village tenants and local elected officials have accused Kushner Cos. and its property manager, Westminster, in lawsuits and in other complaints of using harassment-as-eviction tactics through the years.

In 2013, Kushner started buying up some 40-plus buildings in the East Village. According to the Cooper Square Committee, only Steve Croman owns more residential buildings in the East Village than Kushner does.

Kushner removed himself as the company’s CEO back in January to become a senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Trump.

Reader photo at 118 E. 4th St. from March 6.

Previously on EV Grieve:
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

Monday, April 3, 2017

A look at Jared Kushner's financial disclosure report


[EVG file photo]

Details of Jared Kushner's real-estate empire were made public in documents released late Friday night, according to published reports. As Bloomberg reported, Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser to President Donald Trump, "held personal lines of credit of as much as $90 million to 10 financial institutions as of his Jan. 22 appointment to the White House."

The New York Times reports that Kushner resigned from more than 200 positions in the partnerships and limited liability companies that make up the family real-estate business, which has acquired $7 billion worth of commercial and residential property over the last decade.

The 54-page financial disclosure report shows, however, that "Kushner will remain a beneficiary of most of those same entities," worth at least hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Times on Saturday examined the "perilous legal and ethical ground" that Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, are on now.

Unlike Mr. Trump, who is exempt from conflict of interest laws, both Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump — who took a formal White House position this past week — are forbidden under federal criminal and civic law to take any action that might benefit their particular financial holdings.

In 2013, the Kushner Companies started buying up some 40-plus buildings in the East Village. According to the Cooper Square Committee, only Steve Croman owns more residential buildings in the East Village than Kushner does. The properties are managed by Westminster Management, a division of Kushner Companies.

Meanwhile, Kushner will be keeping very busy. Last week, the President appointed him to lead the newly created White House Office of American Innovation. (Read the official White House memo on this here.)

Per The Washington Post:

Kushner’s ambitions for what the new office can achieve are grand. At least to start, the team plans to focus its attention on reimagining Veterans Affairs; modernizing the technology and data infrastructure of every federal department and agency; remodeling workforce-training programs; and developing “transformative projects” under the banner of Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, such as providing broadband Internet service to every American.

Already on Kushner's to-do list: brokering a peace pact between Israel and the Palestinians.

One last note... Elizabeth Spiers has a piece in The Washington Post about her time working as editor-in-chief of The New York Observer under Kushner's ownership.

I inherited an office and a desktop computer, both in fine but used condition. The computer was a recent-model Mac, but when I turned it on, it was inexplicably running Windows. I summoned our beleaguered IT guy to explain, and he informed me that it had belonged to Kushner, who liked the design of Apple products but preferred the Windows OS.

“So he was basically using a $2,500 desktop as a monitor?” I asked. The IT guy shrugged.

In retrospect, this tiny moment seems like a metaphor. Frankensteining two products you appreciate into one product you appreciate even more isn’t irrational; it’s even creative, in a way. On the other hand, why did the newspaper’s owner need a $2,500 monitor? How was it anything but a vanity object?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

[Updated] Noted



That new Diane Von Furstenberg campaign is pretty edgy... photo today on Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue by Derek Berg

Updated 5:55 p.m.

The signs have been ripped off the plywood...


[Photo by Derek Berg]

Friday, January 13, 2017

East Village groups to Mayor de Blasio: Jared Kushner’s actions are not those of someone who 'cares deeply about NYC'



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

Monday, January 9, 2017

[Updated] East Village landlord Jared Kushner's path to the White House


This past weekend, The New York Times took a deep dive on Jared Kushner, President-elect Donald Trump's son-in-law, as he continues to play a key role in the new administration.

The Page 1 piece shows the web of potential conflicts of interest that Kushner could face in Trump's administration. The article centers on a celebratory dinner on Nov. 16 in a private dining room at the Waldorf Astoria. Kushner was close to a joint-venture agreement with Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of Anbang Insurance Group, to help redevelop the Kushner-owned 666 Fifth Ave.

As the Times noted, the byzantine ownership structure of Anbang, which has close ties to the Chinese state, "has seen its aggressive efforts to buy up hotels in the United States slowed amid concerns raised by Obama administration officials who review foreign investments for national security risk."

Per the Times:

[W]ith Mr. Kushner laying the groundwork for his own White House role, the meeting at the Waldorf shines a light on his family’s multibillion-dollar business, Kushner Companies, and on the ethical thicket he would have to navigate while advising his father-in-law on policy that could affect his bottom line.

And...

Matthew T. Sanderson, a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale and former general counsel to Senator Rand Paul’s presidential campaign, said deals like the one with Anbang “might not be illegal under the conflict-of-interest rules, but raise a strong appearance that a foreign entity is using Mr. Kushner’s business to try to influence U.S. policy.”

The article also notes that Kushner will resign as chief executive of Kushner Companies.

Starting in 2013, Kushner has bought 40-plus buildings in the East Village. According to the Cooper Square Committee, only Steve Croman owns more residential buildings in the East Village than Kushner does.

Under Kushner's ownership, tenants have accused his management company, among other things, of aggressive tactics to remove rent-stabilized residents ... while failing to provide gas for cooking and heat.

Updated 8:14 p.m.

Kushner will be named senior adviser to the president, CNN reports.

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] Report: Jared Kushner buys $130 million portfolio of East Village rental buildings

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

Monday, December 12, 2016

[Updated] Jared Kushner apparently didn't pay the ConEd bill on 9th Street



ConEd has placed turn-off notices on the front doors at 329-335 E. Ninth St., the buildings operated by the Jared Kushner-owned Kushner Companies here between First Avenue and Second Avenue.


[Click image for larger view]

At No. 329, the notice states that "because KUSHNER VILLAGE 329 has not paid past due bills for $700.47 and a $525 security deposit... we will have to turn off service unless we receive payment by January 4, 2017."

As previously noted, only Steve Croman owns more residential buildings in the East Village than Jared Kushner does. Kushner, 35, who is married to President-elect Donald Trump’s elder daughter, Ivanka, reportedly may have some kind of role in the new administration.

Photos by Steven

Updated 12-13

DNAinfo has more on the story here ... including:

A representative of Westminster Management said the company was in the midst of transitioning the management of utility payments to a different company, likely causing a delay in payments, and added that the bill had been paid on Monday.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Jared Kushner's East Village tenants wish he'd resolve issues closer to home


[Page 1 of the Journal from Tuesday]

Since the election, Jared Kushner, President-elect Donald Trump's son-in-law, has been the subject of Page 1 stories in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times ... as well as the cover of the latest issue of Forbes...



As the Times and other media outlets have reported, Kushner, 35, who is married to Trump’s elder daughter, Ivanka, "is exploring the prospects of joining the administration as a formal, but unpaid, adviser." During the presidential campaign, Kushner became an integral member of Trump's inner circle.

Kushner has been running his family’s real-estate business, Kushner Companies. According to the Times, "the Kushners have acquired $7 billion worth of commercial and residential property over the last decade."

In recent years, starting in 2013, Kushner has bought 40-plus buildings in the East Village. According to the Cooper Square Committee, only Steve Croman owns more residential buildings in the East Village than Kushner does.

And as we've noted in multiple posts, there hasn't been any shortage of tenant horror stories since Kushner and his management company, Westminster City Living, became the landlord. For instance, back in March, tenants at 118 E. Fourth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue went to Manhattan Housing Court as part of ongoing litigation against Kushner. Tenants there had been without gas for cooking since October 2015. There were other issues too, such as collapsed ceilings, overflowing trash and sporadic heat. (Kushner eventually settled with the tenants.)

Brandon Kielbasa at the Cooper Square Committee told Gothamist in March that Kushner "treats both rent-stabilized and market-rate tenants badly, and seems to feel that he can get away with not maintaining buildings because the housing market is so tight he can keep them full anyway."

In July 2014, DNAinfo reported that "Kushner is using lawsuits, disruptive construction and neglect to force rent-stabilized tenants out of two buildings [170-174 E. Second St.] he owns in the East Village, as he converts them to high-end apartments, according to court documents and residents."

Meanwhile, around that same time, the Daily News filed a story with the headline "Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner forcing residents out of East Village building so he can get higher rents: tenants."

Yesterday, DNAinfo filed a lengthy piece on a lawsuit that a resident at 331 E. Ninth St. filed against Kushner. Uta Winkler, a rent-stabilized tenant, said in court papers that her kitchen was destroyed several days before Thanksgiving in 2013 by construction workers renovating an unoccupied unit above her apartment.

And then...

Two weeks later, Winkler had to endure more mayhem when she came home to find that a construction worker carrying dirty water and debris on the floor above hers had crashed through her bedroom ceiling, landing on her bed, court document said.

The fall destroyed her bed and other furniture, but Westminster refused to reimburse her for the damage or even return her calls, court papers said.

Without a response, Winkler withheld her monthly rent, which reportedly prompted the Kushner Companies to sue her for the unpaid rent in 2015 in Manhattan Housing Court. DNAinfo reported that the company also sued tenants in two other units, include new market-rate residents, in the building for also withholding rent because of the disruptions from construction. (Those two other tenants then each filed counter-suits against Kushner.)

As a way to improve its image, Westminster introduced a new program this fall called Westminster Cares (not to be confused with this Westminster Cares), a partnership with the Educational Alliance...



The kick-off party was Nov. 17 at the 14th Street Y. Per the fliers, "This new program gives you an opportunity to serve your community while getting to know your fellow Westminster neighbors." The slogan: "Mingle. Give Back. Repeat."

The event prompted the Cooper Square Committee to release a statement asking, "Westminster Cares – About Who?!"

Said Kielbasa: "Every week we have Kushner tenants calling our office to get issues resolved. The problems they face range from not getting security deposits back, not getting lease renewals, having chronic mixups with their rent payments, and having difficulties getting repairs. If Westminster really cares, they need to get better at managing their properties."

For their part, Westminster provided DNAinfo with a statement for yesterday's article about their ongoing work in maintaining their portfolio:

"As with all our properties, we are committed to providing a high level of service for our tenants across that portfolio, which is nearly fully leased. We couldn't maintain that level of occupancy or service without investing in essential building infrastructure, so we consistently make meaningful upgrades in our walkup buildings across the city on behalf of our residents."

In a Page 1 story on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal cited Kushner's business activities that could potentially raise conflict-of-interest issues if he is named to a staff position in the Trump administration. (Possible solutions include Kushner selling his assets and putting the money into a trust.)

As the Trump told the Times last week, "Jared’s a very smart guy. He’s a very good guy. The people that know him, he’s a quality person and I think he can be very helpful." (The Times contacted dozens of politicians, diplomats and journalists in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Very few of them were familiar with Kushner.)



Upon reading the news of the possibility of Kushner brokering peace, one resident wrote on Facebook last week: "The Middle East is gonna have to wait until he fixes my sink. Might be forever."

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

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Report: Jared Kushner evicting tenant who evicted subletter on East 4th Street

The tenant of a rent-stabilized apartment on East Fourth Street owned by Jared Kushner is now facing eviction after she evicted her cancer-stricken subletter.

The New York Post has the story about the apartment at 118-120 E. Fourth St.:

Retired teacher Joy Keith­line sublet her $600-a-month studio to Jeanne DiCarlo for $1,000 a month starting in 2012, court records state.

Meanwhile, Keithline was living at her primary residence — a two-bedroom home near a lake in upstate New York, records show.

Keithline made a hefty 67 percent profit off the scheme until March when she sued to evict her subtenant — the day DiCarlo was scheduled for breast-cancer surgery. “It was horrible,” said DiCarlo, 61. “I had to cancel my surgeries.”

All this ended up in court. Manhattan Housing Judge Michelle Schreiber eventually ordered DiCarlo's eviction because she didn’t have a lease. DiCarlo then lost an emergency appeal this past week. (Keithline was reportedly ordered to pay DiCarlo $25,000 in overcharges.)

However, when the Post contacted the Kushner Companies for comment, a spokesperson said: "We are outraged that Ms. DiCarlo was being taken advantage of. We’re working swiftly not only to remove Ms. Keithline through the legal process, but also to ensure that Ms. DiCarlo can live in the unit."

Court papers also show that Keithline owns a $400,000 house on Staten Island and a $117,000 Florida rental property.

And Gothamist pointed this out:

It's worth noting that the Post, which first reported this story, has endorsed Trump for president, so it's not clear how much of the tabloid's breaking of this story has to do with running damage control for its preferred candidate's son-in-law, who landed himself in hot water this week when he defended an anti-Semitic Trump tweet.

Kushner bought this (and many other East Village buildings) in 2013. In March, tenants at 118 E. Fourth St. went to Manhattan Housing Court as part of ongoing litigation against Kushner. Tenants there had been without gas for cooking since October. There are other issues too, such as collapsed ceilings, overflowing trash and sporadic heat. Kushner eventually settled with the tenants.

Previously on EV Grieve:
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

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

On the campaign trail with East Village landlord Jared Kushner


[Reader photo at 118 E. 4th St. from March 6]

Several readers passed along the link to the Page 1 feature today in The New York Times titled Quiet Fixer in Donald Trump’s Campaign: His Son-in-Law, Jared Kushner.

According to the Cooper Square Committee, only Steve Croman owns more residential buildings in the East Village than Kushner does.

And as we've noted in multiple posts, there haven't been any shortage of tenant horror stories since Kushner and his company, Westminster City Living, started buying up properties in the East Village in 2013. For instance, in March, tenants at 118 E. Fourth St. went to Manhattan Housing Court as part of ongoing litigation against Kushner. Tenants there had been without gas for cooking since October. There are other issues too, such as collapsed ceilings, overflowing trash and sporadic heat. (Kushner eventually settled with the tenants.)

Brandon Kielbasa at the Cooper Square Committee told Gothamist in March that Kushner "treats both rent-stabilized and market-rate tenants badly, and seems to feel that he can get away with not maintaining buildings because the housing market is so tight he can keep them full anyway."

In July 2014, DNAinfo reported that "Kushner is using lawsuits, disruptive construction and neglect to force rent-stabilized tenants out of two buildings he owns in the East Village, as he converts them to high-end apartments, according to court documents and residents."

Meanwhile, around that same time, the Daily News filed a story with the headline Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner forcing residents out of East Village building so he can get higher rents: tenants

In any event, the feature in the Times does not mention any of Kushner's holdings in the neighborhood or his reported aggressive tactics... focusing on his role as a key Trump adviser.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

In a gradual but unmistakable fashion, Mr. Kushner has become involved in virtually every facet of the Trump presidential operation, so much so that many inside and out of it increasingly see him as a de facto campaign manager. Mr. Kushner, who is married to Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka ... oversaw the creation of an online fund-raising system and has had a hand in drafting Mr. Trump’s few policy speeches. And now that Mr. Trump has secured the Republican nomination, Mr. Kushner is counseling his father-in-law on the selection of a running mate.

It is a new and unlikely role for Mr. Kushner, a conspicuously polite Harvard graduate whose prominent New Jersey family bankrolled Democrats for decades and whose father’s reputation was destroyed, in a highly public and humiliating manner, by his involvement in electoral politics.

The article notes that given the hectic campaign trail, "Kushner is devoting far less time to his real estate empire."

Previously on EV Grieve:
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

Friday, June 10, 2016

Report: Steve Croman filed for alterations in 32% of his East Village properties

According to an analysis of Department of Buildings filings, there’s about one alteration application for every three East Village apartment units that Steve Croman owns, The Real Deal reports.

Croman of Croman Real Estate and 9300 Realty was arrested last month. In a lawsuit via New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, "Croman directs an illegal operation that wields harassment, coercion, and fraud to force rent-regulated tenants out of their apartments and convert their apartments into highly profitable market-rate units." In total, Croman was hit with 20 felony charges and faces 25 years in prison.

The Croman revelation was just one finding from The Real Deal's investigation of DOB permits dating to 2012 to determine which landlords filed the most permit applications relative to the number of units they own in the East Village.

Per TRD:

Other East Village landlords with a high alteration strike rate include Mark Scharfman’s Scharfman Organization, which owns about 4,000 units citywide ... The company filed 19 alteration permits at its 118 East Village units since 2012, a rate of about 16 percent.

Jared Kushner’s Kushner Companies, which has acquired a sizable portfolio in the neighborhood since 2012, also made the top five. It filed 77 alteration permit applications and owns at least 522 units in the neighborhood. Raphael Toledano’s Brookhill Properties, which owns about 400 units in the East Village, was fourth on the list and filed 53 alteration permit requests.

Per previous published reports, Kushner and Toledano have been accused of trying to force out tenants at East Village properties in the past. (Like here ... and here... and here...)

And what might all these filings mean?

Emily Goldstein, an organizer at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, an affordable housing advocacy group, believes any correlation between a high rate of renovations and harassment allegations may be more than coincidence.

“I think it raises a red flag,” she said. “I think absolutely an unusual rate of alt filings is cause for concern.”

However, reps for the landlords "emphatically rejected such characterizations of renovation work."

Find the the full Real Deal report here.