Late Night “Some Politics More Local Than Others” Open Thread: Jared Kushner, Grifter Icarus

Jared and his family are about to have it explained to them why smart slumlords keep a low profile. “Nobody cares” if a sharp operator hustles the schvartzes in some beat-down burb far from the Big Apple. But New Yorkers take their rent control codes seriously — not necessarily sincerely, but seriously — and NYC prosecutors are always looking for a rich, tender would-be wiseguy of whom to make an example. MarketWatch reports:

A New York City Council member and a tenant’s rights group are launching an investigation into the real-estate firm controlled by the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, over a report that it regularly falsified building permits.

Politician Ritchie Torres and Aaron Carr, founder of Housing Rights Initiative (HRI), a tenants’ rights watchdog, made the announcement at a press conference outside Kushner Cos. New York headquarters on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, according to media reports. The news comes a day after the Associated Press reported that Kushner Cos. routinely filed false paperwork with New York City, declaring it had no rent-regulated tenants in buildings it owned, when it actually had hundreds.

That allowed the company to move in and conduct extensive construction and renovation that tenants claimed was targeted harassment aimed at driving them out to clear the way for higher-paying renters, said the AP…

In one instance, the Kushner Cos. purchased three buildings in Queens in 2015, in which most of the tenants had some protection that barred developers from evicting them or raising their rents in an effort to turn a quick profit, the AP reported.

But the company ticked a box on construction-permit applications that said the buildings had no rent-regulated tenants, according to an AP review of the documents. Tax records filed a few months after that showed the buildings actually had 94 rent-regulated units. The Kushner Cos., which at the time was headed by Jared Kushner, sold the buildings two years later for $60 million, or nearly 50% more than it had paid.

“It’s bare-faced greed,” said Carr. HRI compiled the work-permit application documents and shared them with AP. “The fact that the company was falsifying all these applications with the government shows a sordid attempt to avert accountability and get a rapid return on its investment.”…

Filing false documents to the city’s Department of Buildings carries a misdemeanor fine of up to $25,000, but it is regularly flouted. Landlords can receive a demand to file an “amended” form with the correct numbers. HRI found that the Kushner Cos. filed dozens of amended forms for the buildings in the documents, many of them a year or two later…

Even apart from the legal danger, imagine the humilation for Big-Time Global Operator Jared Kushner to be exposed in front of his new downtown “friends” as just another chisler sending thugs to intimidate old ladies out of their homes. If only he’d had the sense to keep a low profile!

68 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    Love the title. Said to myself, Must be Anne Laurie.

  2. 2
    Timurid says:

    Grifter Icarus

    He’s not just flying too close to the sun. He’s flying inside it. But, for the moment at least, his wings remain intact.

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    He does seem to have the hardest time with paperwork. He’ll blame it on the help, I’m sure.

  4. 4
    Aleta says:

    My friend doesn’t even bring up Ivaaah, much less rant like I do, but today he said, “Did you see the picture of I. pretending to be a scientist?” “You’re kidding?” No.
    god please no. Oh god.

  5. 5
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    Among Republicans, Kushner’s sins are virtues.

  6. 6
    Arclite says:

    I don’t understand how he could simply evict 94 rent controlled tenants by just checking a box.

  7. 7
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Aleta:

    I hadn’t heard about that. The comments are brutal. Deservedly so, I might add.

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    How did this maggot get through Harvard? Oh yeah, family money.

  9. 9
    efgoldman says:

    @Mike in NC:

    How did this maggot get through Harvard?

    Once you’re in, legitimately or by legacy buy-in, getting thru really isn’t all that hard,

  10. 10
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Arclite: It isn’t just that they check off a box. I read an article many moons ago about this (in the NYT). They schedule the construction to make unbearable racket. They enter tenants’ units without permission, rip out kitchens, etc. Maybe the ceiling collapses on the tenant’s unit. Maybe the only exit from the tenant’s unit is blocked by construction. And on and on and on. It all adds up, and eventually the tenant moves out. Of course, a savvy tenant would get a lawyer, etc, etc. But when you’re dealing with a deep-pocketed landlord, and you’re a little old lady, maybe you just pack it in.

  11. 11
    Chet Murthy says:

    @efgoldman: *precisely*. mid-80s, it was “gentleman’s C’s”. These days, I hear it’s “gentleman’s A-‘s”. The trick is getting in, and “my dad’s just endowed a building” usually does the trick.

  12. 12
    NotMax says:

    At this point, wondering if Jared Corey Kushner is his real name. Maybe the birth certificate has been amended?

  13. 13

    @efgoldman:
    @Chet Murthy: Wow, where I went to college they’d actually fail you. Then again it was a state school.

  14. 14
    efgoldman says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    I hear it’s “gentleman’s A-‘s”. The trick is getting in, and “my dad’s just endowed a building” usually does the trick.

    Things change over time. My dad got in in the 1930s because he was a graduate of Boston Latin School. Period.
    Definitely not a legacy, grew up in the tenements of Boston’s old West End of poor immigrant parents. However at about that time Harvard raised the Jewish quota they claimed didn’t exist, opening the floodgates to a whole generation of first born in this country boys,

  15. 15
    efgoldman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    where I went to college they’d actually fail you.

    It is possible to flunk out of Harvard (or to be asked to take some time off). A very good friend of mine did, ended up graduating from Brandeis. But he wasn’t rich.
    I didn’t go to Harvard, but for over 20 years we lived cheek by jowl to Cambridge, and knew a lot of students, faculty, and employees.

  16. 16
    mike in dc says:

    Jared’s indictment seems almost overdetermined at this point. It will have the added bonus of finally ejecting him from the WH. Probably Ivanka gone as an additional boon.

  17. 17
    mike in dc says:

    Note: not necessarily true for all Ivies. Getting through Cornell in the 80s was reasonably difficult.

  18. 18
    efgoldman says:

    @mike in dc:

    Jared’s indictment seems almost overdetermined at this point.

    I think the prosecutors are seeing how hard they can get him to roll, on who.

  19. 19

    @efgoldman: There were a number of folk who were at UCLA my first year who disappeared by the time fall quarter began in my second year.

  20. 20
    scav says:

    @Aleta: I somehow want to pair up the Scientist Barbie photo with the Louise Linton Banker Barbie photo. The Space Farce Cadette and Wannabe Bond Girl duo would make for an epic cheesy movie.

  21. 21
    Chet Murthy says:

    @mike in dc: In Cornell’s defense, it was a second-rate Ivy. [j/k j/k j/k] Also there was the Ag school to keep ’em honest. ISTR tales of Yale also giving gentleman’s C’s. Might not have been Yale, but we certainly knew of other Ivies than Hahvahd that did it. [full disclosure: I went to grad school at Cornell 1986-1990, and learned of this despicable habit from my classmates from other Ivies, who were, needless to say, equally scandalized.]

    ETA: went to Rice undergrad, not Ivy. So I’m not tainted (*grin*).

  22. 22
    NotMax says:

    Gee, just checked all over the site and the New York Observer (online only since November 9, 2016, the day after the election) doesn’t seem to be covering this story.

    Quelle surprise. //

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    Realize something above is subject to being misread. Alteration to alleviate that:

    (online only since November 9, 2016, print edition went kaput the day after the election)

  24. 24
    Aleta says:

    @scav: Maybe there could be a whole set of cards, like when Cheney Bush and that PR woman made cards for each official in Iraq.

    Is it too much to ask, since she feels deeply about training scientists and lab techs (at least in nicotine delivery technology), that she donate money to update public high school chemistry labs.

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Jared and his entire family need to feel serious pain in punishment for this.

  26. 26

    If only NYC were home to a major newspaper this might all have been known several years ago.

  27. 27
    patrick II says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Vince D’Onofrio rode shotgun with Jared for a week for his part in Daredevil.

  28. 28
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Ghost of Joe Lieblings Dog:
    The FTFNYT is garbage. And pretty much always has been.

  29. 29
    TS says:

    This family will believe forever – the rules are made for the other people – and so far that has served them well. Jared has no top security clearance, yet he is filling in for the non existent S of S and meeting foreign heads of state. It is near impossible to believe this is happening – but the GOP keeps them all safe.

  30. 30
    Gretchen says:

    @Aleta: Funniest part of the Ivanka as scientist photo – she’s pretending to pour something out of a volumetric flask, and the flask still has the stopper in! What were they thinking?

  31. 31
    Aleta says:

    @NotMax: Didn’t he tank the print version, then call it proof of expertise at transitioning to new technologies and partnering his intellect with Silicon Valley tycoons?

  32. 32
    Gretchen says:

    @Arclite: He didn’t straight up evict them. He did stuff like having contractors drilling all night to make it awful to live there so they’d move out.

  33. 33
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @TS:

    but the GOP keeps them all safe.

    And turnout willing this fall, that will be their undoing.

  34. 34
    hervevillechaizelounge says:

    I’m the most pessimistic human on planet earth—I expect Trump to fire Mueller and suspend federal elections any minute now—but I’m pretty sure Jared is going upstate.

    You’d think he’d be more careful about putting things in writing and using shell companies to shield his liability. His daddy did time, for fuck’s sake; he of all people should be aware that rich white men occasionally do end up behind bars.

    If I worked in the prison induction center I’d give him a teeny-tiny orange jumpsuit to mock his Pee Wee Herman suits:)

  35. 35
    Gretchen says:

    @scav: Great idea! I want to be a feminist and defend scientist Barbie and Dalmatian-coat Linton, but they’re so awful I have no defense for either of them.

  36. 36
    Aleta says:

    @Arclite: Submit false documents about expensive improvements he’d made (the kind that let him raise the rent until rent control is broken on a building) and subdue court challenges with threats, thuggish repair crews, corrupt lawyers and judges?

  37. 37
    Aleta says:

    @Gretchen: I didn’t even notice that. Fixated on the way she pouts her lips I guess. (She should be a model.)

  38. 38
    frosty says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Half my class at Harvey Mudd didn’t graduate. They’ve since decided that wasn’t a good selling point and have made adjstments.

    PChem knocked out all but 9 of the chem majors in the class before me.

  39. 39
    SectionH says:

    @Arclite: Probably because NY rent controlled units aren’t paid close attention to? I know nothing about that, that’s a specific local thing. I do know quite a lot about HUD affordable housing. Basically, I guess it was like “Certify this building has x% of rent controlled units” under penalty of law, and… heh, they never thought anyone would ever actually check to see if that was true.

  40. 40
    Aleta says:

    @Gretchen: Now that you mention it, isn’t her hair supposed to be held back so it doesn’t contaminate something or get tangled with a bunsen burner.

  41. 41
    Chet Murthy says:

    @frosty: Damn. I knew some Harvey Mudd grads — strong, strong, strong folks. Didn’t realize it was that much of a winnowing.

  42. 42
    NotMax says:

    Some more details.

    The Wall Street Journal reported in May that Kushner did not include his stake in Cadre in his financial disclosures when he began his role in the U.S. government. Cadre, which Kushner co-founded, is a real estate startup and the primary beneficiary of the Kushner Cos. property flip in Queens.

    For Cadre, the project with Kushner Cos. was the first deal it handled from start to finish. The startup’s role in working on the three buildings in Queens, which sold in 2017 for nearly 50% more than Kushner Cos. paid for them, was touted as a proof-of-concept for its business model.

    Kushner did not divest from Cadre when he began his White House role, and the startup has since raised $65 million in a series C funding round and received $250 million in client money from Goldman Sachs in January for real estate deals.
    [snip]
    This is not the first time Kushner’s behavior as a landlord have been questioned.

    Kushner Cos. is also being sued by tenants in Baltimore who complained of mold and unfixed damage in their apartments along with steep late fees and harassment over debts many had already paid, according to reporting by ProPublica, the New York Times, and the Baltimore Sun.

    Tenants filed a class action lawsuit against the company in September 2017. The Maryland attorney general’s office is looking into the management practices at Kushner Cos. properties.

    In addition, Kushner Cos. is being sued by residents from a Brooklyn Heights property who make similar claims of rent increases and the use of construction as a tool to push old tenants out of the building. Source

    Jared Kushner, who stepped down as CEO of the Kushner Cos. last year before taking on his advisory role at the White House, sold off part of his real estate holdings as required under government ethics rules. But he retained stakes in many properties, including Westminster Management, the Kushner Cos. subsidiary that oversees its residential properties. A financial disclosure last year showed he still owns a stake in Westminster and earned $1.6 million from the holding. Source

  43. 43
    SectionH says:

    @Chet Murthy: I think they mostly just lied. Much easier. It’s a big city, and no one nowhere staffs Housing remotely adequately, so submiting their certifications or whatevs was probably all that was needed.

    And yeah, it would be interesting to see how much actual renovations were done in some of those buildings. Construction Hell describes my life for the last 6 months, and if I were “only” renting, I might well have been outta here.

  44. 44

    @frosty: I changed my major after O-Chem.

  45. 45
    NotMax says:

    @SectionH

    Also would be interesting to find out whether there was Russian, Chinese or Saudi money that changed hands when the buildings were sold off.

  46. 46
    prostratedragon says:

    @NotMax: I’ve said from the beginning that that’s not his real face. Really, all I have to say about him.

    This little ad has been running through my mind. Do not think they know the formula.

  47. 47
    Anne Laurie says:

    @SectionH:

    Probably because NY rent controlled units aren’t paid close attention to?

    I haven’t lived in NYC for forty years, but from my reading, the ‘cultural understanding’ around rent control hasn’t changed much over time. “Everybody knows” that it’s a juryrigged maze of hard-to-understand, easy-to-exploit rulings… and also that if The Law Guys decide to punish a bad landlord, all those but-everybody-does-it box checks *will* be used to set an example for all the other slumlords. Like taking down Al Capone for tax evasion, it’s not precisely fair, but there’s (almost) always a way to prove some broke the law.

    Jared had every reason to understand this Larger Truth — his old man got dinged on a regular basis for monkey wrenching rent-controlled buildings, and theoretically Young Jared is, if not the business genius he believes himself to be, at least smart enough to learn simple truths via repeated demonstrations.

    But Young Jared seems to have gotten high on his father-in-law’s ego-supply; he decided the rules no longer applied to “people like him”…

  48. 48
    Origuy says:

    For anyone who wants to quit Facebook, or just to see what they know about you, there is a way to get an archive of your profile, including your pictures.
    It’s a multi-step process; they’ll require your password a couple of times and send a link to the email address in your profile. It takes a few minutes to compile everything and then they send you a link to a ZIP file to download.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    Origuy says:

    Someone pointed out that in that picture of Lab Technician Barbie, she is pouring something at mouth level with no covering over her mouth. Of course, since the stopper is on, it wouldn’t matter.

  51. 51
    SectionH says:

    @NotMax: I would be Shocked!

  52. 52
    some guy says:

    If corporations are people, and an Uber “autonomous” vehicle just killed a pedestrian in Tempe, does that mean Dara Khosrowshawi will be indicted for murder?

  53. 53
    Mary G says:

    This is a relief, if anyone is up:

    #BREAKING: The suspect in the #AustinBombings has been killed after FBI, Austin police tracked him down and engaged him in Round Rock within the last hour, according to state law enforcement officials. A device detonated –which they expected when they pursued him. Then shots.— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) March 21, 2018

  54. 54
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @Mary G: So is he a terrorist or a white guy?

  55. 55
    Mary G says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: Por que no los dos? Looks like a white guy. Pictures of him from surveillance at FedEx don’t show his face, because he’s wearing a baseball cap, but the forearms are definitely white.

  56. 56
    hellslittlestangel says:

    I hope Jared’s dad made an endowment to one of the Ivy League state prisons.

  57. 57
    raven says:

    @Mary G: The rotten deep state got him.

  58. 58
    cosima says:

    @raven: I noticed there was a reply to the tweet from someone with ‘deplorable’ in their name/title/? saying it was convenient that the bomber was dead. I guess because the left have all of these martyrs willing to die to make the RWNJs look bad — maybe they have the option of free healthcare when they get to heaven? Or free university tuition? Maybe not something quite so grand, perhaps just student loans with fixed low interest rates.

    Here’s a BBC link. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43484386

  59. 59
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    @Aleta:

    training scientists and lab techs (at least in nicotine delivery technology)

    I read “nicotine delivery technology” and I think of Agatha Christie murder mysteries.

  60. 60
    raven says:

    @cosima: Reading comments on twitter is pretty much a losing proposition I guess.

  61. 61
    cosima says:

    @raven: I’m not a twitter user, and generally only read the twitter threads that become memes (as in the case of the very hilarious responses to Ivanka’s science cos play tweet). I only read that one above because I couldn’t find anything about the news at my usual sites, and was looking through the twitter responses to see if anyone had a link. I definitely make it a point to avoid replies/comments otherwise, just as I never read comments at a FTFNYT or WaPo or CNN or anything other than BJ actually. My hate-tolerance is not good, there is definitely a visceral/physical reaction for me to reading the hateful stuff.

  62. 62
    Van Buren says:

    @SectionH: In the neighborhood where I work (Bushwick) many of the renters had “questionable” citizenship status, and were in no position to fight. Kushner is a shitheel, and he’s far from the being the only developer who systematically did/does this.

  63. 63
    Bruce K says:

    Interesting historical note: when one talks of a miscreant being sent “up the river”, the expression was originally referring to the Hudson River, and the presumed destination “up the river” was Sing Sing.

    Getting sent up the river to die in Sing Sing would be an appropriately ignoble end for any and all of those ratfkers.

  64. 64
    Ken says:

    @Gretchen, @Aleta. @Origuy: So in summary, she’s basing her performance on mad scientist movies from the 1950s?

  65. 65
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Origuy: To paraphrase Barbie herself, Science is hard.

  66. 66
    nycmt says:

    @Chet Murthy: I was at Ag and Life in the nineties. Nobody skated.

  67. 67
    Procopius says:

    I have a feeling it’s gonna be a bad few weeks for Jar-Jar Bling

    I’ll cry a river.

  68. 68
    Procopius says:

    @Anne Laurie: It seems like Jared wants to be loved and respected by his old man, who is said to be a horrible person, mean, cruel, and vindictive. After the old man got out of prison he basically took control of KushnerCos and humiliated Jared regularly. I’m hoping the vultures eat their livers because of their hubris. I’ll probably be disappointed, of course, but I think they’re going to at least be hurt a little bit.

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