Jared Kushner’s Property Management Company Is Trying to Evict Hundreds of Tenants in the Middle of a Pandemic

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“This is the warning shot—do you want to have your stuff just thrown out on the street, or do you want to just go?” Georgetown University law professor Adam Levitin told the Post. “I suspect in many cases landlords are hoping to move people out without having to go through the actual formal eviction.” Zafar Shah, a lawyer with a Baltimore-based legal aid nonprofit, said that even small fees “can make the difference between the eviction going through or not, or the tenant being able to take the bus to work.” Tashika Booker, a resident of a Westminster property who lost her job in May and received an email last month from the property manager saying, “we have filed on you with the District court of MD, so court fees will be added to your account,” called the eviction notices “heartless” coming from a company owned by the son-in-law of the president of the United States, who was paid $1.65 million by Westminster in 2019. “The way they’re treating us is just making us feel like we’re nothing. It feels like we’re…what’s the word…disposable,” she said. “They just want us gone so someone else can come in.”

As the Post notes, data from prior years suggests that evictions disproportionately affect minorities, with Black renters having evictions filed against them at almost twice the rate of white renters between 2012 and 2016. To that end, some of Westminster’s tenants facing eviction are Black. As a reminder, Kushner’s feelings about Black people were neatly summed up in an interview on Fox News last month in which the first son-in-law said that it’s not 400 years of systemic racism that have held “complaining” Black people back, but their lack of ambition. “President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about,” Kushner said, “but he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful.”

As for the pandemic—which has disproportionately affected Black people in both the rate at which they have been killed by COVID-19 and have lost jobs—Kushner obviously has a little hand to play there too, having put together a team of private sector volunteers with almost no relevant experience whatsoever to try to mitigate the pandemic’s economic impact. (One person who worked for Kushner’s group before quitting called the response team’s effort “a family office meets organized crime, melded with Lord of the Flies.”) And as we found out last month, in April he bragged to Bob Woodward about having cut health professionals out of the response to a public health crisis, and claimed that the U.S. was at the beginning of its “comeback.”

And yet no one is evicting Kushner (except in the sense that he and his boss are very likely to lose their jobs on January 20, 2021). Even though his company has fallen behind on some payments of its own:

Before Trump ran for president, Kushner had taken over his family’s real estate company from his father, Charlie Kushner. Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, reported combined assets valued at between $204 million and $783 million last year.

Kushner has passed on some chances to avoid conflicts of interest. He planned to divest his stake worth between $25 million and $50 million in the real estate start-up he cofounded, Cadre, and received an approval in February from the Office of Government Ethics to do so tax-free. But in June he withdrew the request, according to a filing with the office. Kushner’s company has struggled to pay some of its own debts, including by missing payments to one of its lenders on the retail space at the old New York Times building on West 43rd Street in Manhattan, according to securities filings. Kushner Cos. did not comment when asked about the property.

In a statement, Kushner Companies general counsel Christopher Smith told the Post that Westminster “has comprehensively abided by all federal, state, and local orders regarding residential tenancies during the COVID-19 pandemic…and will faithfully continue to do so.”

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