Showing posts with label Kushner Cos.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kushner Cos.. 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."

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.

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.


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