Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: Alas, Young Jared!

Their partner, Vornado Realty Trust, is telling brokers to plan for a much more mundane renovation that would leave the property as an office building, according to three people familiar with the matter. Vornado Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Roth was never enthusiastic about the Kushner plan although until now he hadn’t stood in its way.

Putting an end to the Kushner effort — to salvage their overpriced investment by turning it into a Midtown jewel with expensive condos, a hotel and five-floor mall — could have profound ramifications for the family. Vornado, which owns 49.5 percent of 666 Fifth Ave., is unlikely to invest further in the property without first being reassured of its future, said three people familiar with Roth’s thinking. That means returning to the negotiating table with lenders — a battle that could result in Kushner Cos.’ losing control of the building, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private deals…

Roth is famously press shy and private and has instilled that ethos in other company executives. When he suffered a minor heart attack in August — something that many publicly-traded companies would immediately disclose to investors — it took more than a month for the news to break. So Vornado’s switch of directions for 666 Fifth is probably leaking out for a reason, according to three people familiar with him: he’s signaling to any lenders or investors who may still be interested in the Kushner effort to back off, the people said.

It’s a sharp reversal. As recently as March, both Vornado and Kushner were looking at a massive windfall from Anbang Insurance Group. The Kushner family stood to gain a $400 million cash payout from a deal being discussed with the Chinese insurer, while realizing their dreams of building a glamorous skyscraper. But Anbang, which had previously bought up several major U.S. properties, including the Waldorf Astoria hotel, pulled out of the negotiations amid a public outcry in the U.S. over conflict-of-interest concerns and a crackdown by the Chinese government on overseas investments…

Pressure is mounting because a $1.2 billion mortgage is due in February 2019, while losses make it unattractive to lenders who might refinance the debt. The building lost $14.5 million in 2016 and is on track to lose $24 million this year after a boost in the loan’s interest rate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A 30 percent vacancy rate, as of June, has deepened the losses as Kushner Cos. prepared to demolish the property and replace it — a process that would have required buying out existing leases. Vornado’s plans are designed to fill the building at market-rate rents and stanch the bleeding, three people said…

For entertainment purposes only (since there’s not much that hasn’t already been chewed over here), Kyle Pope in CJR on “The Jared Bubble: What my 18 months as Jared Kushner’s first editor taught me about the Trump family and the press”:

“You can’t say ‘hit job’ in here.”

I was six months into my tenure as the editor of the New York Observer, and I was schooling my publisher, Jared Kushner, on why ordering up a slam of someone who had crossed his family in business didn’t pass the journalistic smell test.

Kushner, in an earlier meeting, had asked for a hit piece on an official at Bank of America, and was now in my office to check on how the story was coming together. I had spent the previous weeks trying to avoid the subject with him, knowing full well that the Observer was never going to pursue a story about an anonymous banker whose only sin was running afoul of the Kushner family…

Most weeks, Kushner not only didn’t read the Observer, he didn’t appear to read anything else, either. I never knew him to discuss a book, a play, or anything else that was in the Observer’s cultural wheelhouse. His circle of friends was fairly limited, largely tech executives and other successful business people, a smattering of celebrities, and a coterie of much older successful men, people like Rupert Murdoch, financier Ron Perelman, and the public relations impresario Howard Rubenstein…

He bragged that he never read The New York Times, though he did seem to care what was in the New York tabloids and The Wall Street Journal

While Kushner didn’t remotely care about the content of the paper, he cared desperately that it be seen as a financial success. While that is essentially every publisher’s job, his interest in turning the business side of the Observer around seemed rooted more in bragging rights than in any commitment to the paper itself. He also made it clear that, compared to his day job of buying and selling real estate in New York City, this journalism stuff wasn’t exactly heavy lifting; he treated it as a sort of annoying hobby. (The irony, of course, is that Kushner never was able to replicate the success of Arthur L. Carter, the paper’s founder and previous owner. As for his real-estate success, that has been overshadowed by severe debt problems at his flagship on Fifth Avenue—the building where we’d have our weekly meetings—and some critical stories about rough tactics his company used to force out people who were late in paying their rent.)…

To quote one of Andrew Carnegie’s favorite proverbs: Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations. Jared’s Daddy made a whole bunch of money (“Honestly?” “Why bring that up now?”), Jared’s managing to lose a whole bunch of money, and — Trickster God willing — in twenty years, Jared’s adult kids are gonna be telling their peers in the next cubicle that Kushner’s actually a pretty common name, nothing to do with that guy…

41 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Here’s a nice video discussing the new gravity wave detection.

    https://youtu.be/EAyk2OsKvtU

  2. 2
    cokane says:

    Anne, when you embed these tweets, you’re putting the punchlines before the setup, since the tweet-within-a-tweet doesnt show up on embeddeds. so gives us the news, then gives us the snarky replies.

  3. 3
    Suzanne says:

    I have to go to a swanky charity ball. I am trying to find shoes that are not S&M devices.

  4. 4

    The new St. Vincent album is really good. This song is stuck in my head.

    Otherwise, I dunno, had a pretty normal day, feeling pretty blah, and the world turns, gonna watch Bob’s Burgers.

  5. 5
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    @Suzanne: How ’bout some plain old strappy heels (photo)

  6. 6
    jl says:

    Just in case his kids don’t turn out horrid, here’s some handy hints some one can pass on to them when the time is right.
    How Many of Me says around 5,200 people with last name Kushner in US.
    Only one Jared Kushner, so don’t spill those beans.

    If they go with ‘Jay’ Kushner and are careful to hedge on whether ‘Jay’ is the real name or family nickname for the first initial ‘J’ then there are several hundred.

    So, if they turn out to be decent citizens, good luck to them.

  7. 7
    Suzanne says:

    @David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch: Those definitely fall into the thank-you-sir-may-I-have-another category.

  8. 8
    Mike J says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Have you heard the new Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHCtH15dpmU

  9. 9
    piratedan says:

    the part I am having the most difficult time with, is the fact that we knew that the GOP and Rump would attempt to brazen it out as if nothing was wrong and that everything is fine. denying health care, at least it’s not Obamacare, can;t build a wall, well those lazy Mexicans refused to pay for it. Treason, hey we won, no one cares how we won and just look at us winning, isn’t it awesome.

    We knew all of this…

    the fact that media is covering this constant erosion of American cultural norms as if they are still somehow above it all, inviolate in their belief that yes, he may crap all over health care, and supporting US citizens in distress and we may be reintroducing racism as an acceptable social position but he’ll never come after the free press.

  10. 10
    Suffragette City says:

    @Baud: Thank you !!! Fascinating!!

  11. 11

    @Mike J: can’t say I know them, nice song.

  12. 12
    Mike J says:

    @Major Major Major Major: She did that song, Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party and Kurt Vile has the best nom de stage in pop music.

  13. 13
    Mike J says:

    @Mike J: Excuse me. Wikipedia says Kurt Vile is not a stage name and is in fact his birth name. But still no collab with Brecht.

  14. 14
    Mel says:

    @Suzanne: Maybe something like these? I used to love pumps, but rarely wear them now b/c my old feet protest!

    The best bets I’ve found for reasonable wearability for a dressy event have either a slight platform sole, a slightly wedge shaped low kitten heel, or a higher but wider, sturdier heel (like the ones in the link). Those styles seem to give at lesst slightly better distribution of pressure on the foot, and cause a little less strain on the calf and shin muscles for me.

    Since I’m about 5’2”, I usually do give in to wearing a pump for really fancy dress occasions; my go-to pair has a cushioned platform sole, a thicker heel, and an ankle strap (seems to add a little stability to the fit of the shoe). They’re the only truly comfy pump I’ve found in ten years. When those wear out, I might just decide to fly my crazy cat lady flag and do New Year’s in pink fuzzy house slippers.

  15. 15
    M. Bouffant says:

    My only hope from all this horror is that real estate development & all the douchebags & landlords attached thereto will be seen as the scum they are, & at last prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

  16. 16

    Frankly I still can’t believe that these evil fucks own 666 5th avenue. At least actual satan is subtle and legit had a point if you know your Milton.

  17. 17
    Mike J says:

    @Major Major Major Major: He had the biggest schlong in show biz? How much am I supposed to know?

    Oh, you mean THAT Milton. Sorry, I thought we were discussing Berle.

  18. 18
    Mart says:

    The FSM is punishing us for electing Trump with devastating hurricanes and fires, and she is punishing Jared for being a douche.

  19. 19
    Repatriated says:

    @piratedan: The media is safe in the only way that really matters: there is no plausible threat to their profitability. Editorial control, sure — but as long as they can still profit, it’s not an existential threat. And if it comes down to it, they have the ability to destroy Trump (and if necessary to save themselves, the GOP) at will.

    A point I haven’t seen raised, is that if media speak out against normalization of the President’s actions and character, they are telling their audience that half of them made a choice last November for which they should be embarrassed if not ashamed. Since the point of for-profit media is to attract the largest possible audience, alienating half of them isn’t a good business move.

    This is a matter separate from the media’s own complicity in promoting Trump as a celebrity rather than a candidate.

  20. 20
    NotMax says:

    Kushnado?

    The history of what is now Vornado realty is somewhat interesting.

    @Mike J

    No secret that Berle was, shall we say, amply endowed. However it was an obituary of Forrest Tucker that actually included the line “renowned to have the biggest schlong in show business.”

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    Bad linky. Fix.

    The history of what is now Vornado realty is somewhat interesting.

  22. 22
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    Years ago (pre-Kushner) 666 5th Avenue was where the offices of DC Comics were located.

  23. 23

    @NotMax: see, that’s more on the nose.

  24. 24
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Suzanne:

    I have to go to a swanky charity ball. I am trying to find shoes that are not S&M devices.

    Unless you’re actually walking a red carpet, I’d say go with the plainest pair of old-fashioned ‘ballet flats’ you can find. Fortunately — thank us aging boomers — they should be available even in local stores. Not much arch support, but that’s why Dr. Scholls is so popular. Match ’em to your dress, especially if you’re also wearing “statement jewelry” (not necessarily a diamond tiara, just dangling earrings or a big necklace), and only foot fetishists & your worst enemies will ever look at your feet.

    (Just don’t go with “nude”-colored shoes. Unless your dress is beige tweed, which seems unlikely. If the only comfortable flats you can find are darker than bone and lighter than tan, in which case pick up a bottle of craft-store paint to match your dress.)

  25. 25
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    (emphasis added)

    In March 2017, Zaha Hadid Architects announced plans for a $12 billion, 1,400 foot skyscraper being developed by the Kushner organization to replace the current [483 foot] building. The new building, to include retail and residential space and a hotel, would be completed by 2025 at the earliest, and would face a park, created by razing a block of current buildings. The developers also plan to change the name to 660 Fifth Avenue, to avoid the diabolical association with the number 666. Source

    The site was once where a mansion of the Vanderbilt family stood.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    NotMax says:

    @Anne Laurie

    Be a trendsetter. Nurse’s shoes.

  28. 28
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    There were several Vanderbilt mansions in that immediate area of midtown. I believe it was this one which occupied part of the current 666 building site. It was known as the Petit Chateau.

    “Petit.” Uh huh. ;)

    Trivia: Further up the avenue there still stands another Vanderbilt mansion.

    In 1946 Vanderbilt and her husband sold what the New York Times called at the time “one of the finest private homes remaining on Fifth Avenue” to the Republic of Yugoslavia for $350,000. Since then it’s housed world leaders and reportedly still contains “a secret top-floor, metal-padded room known as a Faraday Cage that allowed officials of the Soviet ally to converse or make calls without the risk of being wiretapped.”

    Now Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia—the five states that came out of the the former Communist state—are selling the townhouse fully furnished…. Source

  29. 29
    Jim says:

    Scary October story

    This needs a bit of background, right now I am doing hyperbaric treatments,
    going in a re-compression chamber and breathing pure oxygen at two atmospheres for
    2 hours. While in there you for safety you can have nothing inflammable, like a book or
    electronics and have to wear a special robe and lie on special sheets. Anyway the only
    diversion for 2 hours is a TV outside the chamber that you can watch and hear.

    Ok so yesterday I’m in there and suddenly the TV switches to CSPAN and there I am watching
    Sebastian Gorka speaking at the Value Voters Summit. I have no control of the TV and cannot
    get out of the chamber till the 2 hours are up. WOW what a helpless feeling. After about 10 minutes
    of this (felt like forever….) the nurse showed up and I could gesture at the TV and she fixed it.

  30. 30
    NotMax says:

    @Jim

    More scary is that there was not someone present at all times to monitor you. Is it harmful to breathe 100-percent oxygen?

  31. 31
    trnc says:

    Sounds like the Trump Crime Family’s personal Puerto Rico, but without any people worth saving.

  32. 32
    Jim says:

    Nurses are there all the time an Dr every 40 minutes you breath regular air for 10 minutes.

  33. 33
    Thursday says:

    The link to the Jared piece doesn’t work. If anyone else would like it, here it is.

    https://www.cjr.org/special_report/cjr-kyle-pope-jared-kushner-observer.php

  34. 34
    Emma says:

    @Suzanne: Kitten heels to one and a half inches. I have several dress pairs. Hard to find but worth it. Buy best quality you can afford in plain colors AND a good metallic that will go with everything. I find Macy’s has a good selection price-wise.

  35. 35
    MCA1 says:

    @Mike J: and he was in The War on Drugs earlier in his/their career. I like their new lead guitarist better, though, at least in that band’s context, and Vile’s alternative enough he’s probably better suited for a solo career.

  36. 36
    Citizen Scientist says:

    @Jim: sounds like “I have no mouth, and I must scream”.

  37. 37
    rachel says:

    @Suzanne: These are my favorite Mary Janes. Also, I’ve bought the Alegria and Dansko Mary Janes that are at the Nurse’s shoes link.

    ETA: The Alegria ones have a wide toe box and look a bit clunky, but they have the most colors. Very comfortable, too.

  38. 38
    J R in WV says:

    @Suzanne:

    Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers seem to be in the news lately !!

    ;-)

  39. 39
    No One You Know says:

    @Repatriated: Good argument, made well; more, please!

  40. 40
    No One You Know says:

    @No One You Know: PROPS for the Ellison reference. I can’t swype.

  41. 41
    Wolvesvalley says:

    @Suzanne:

    Super late to the thread, but if you’re still looking, these are both dressy and comfortable.

    http://www.hotter.com/us/en/va.....k%20Patent

    I have them in black and love them. I’m thinking about getting the bronze ones.

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