Law­suit: Rent at Kush­ner prop­er­ties in­flated il­le­gally

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - STATE NEWS - By Bernard Con­don

NEW YORK » Ten­ants of a sec­ond build­ing owned by the com­pany of Jared Kush­ner’s fam­ily filed a law­suit Tues­day over rent that they say is in­flated il­le­gally.

The law­suit in state Supreme Court in Brook­lyn filed by six res­i­dents at 18 Sid­ney Place in Brook­lyn al­leges that Kush­ner Cos. is charg­ing much higher free-mar­ket rent, rather than the rent-sta­bi­lized rate re­quired by law.

The Kush­ner Cos. said it’s done noth­ing wrong and that the higher rent re­flects ren­o­va­tions done at the apart­ments.

“We’ve re­viewed the law­suit and be­lieve it is with­out merit and that we have com­plied with all rent reg­u­la­tions ap­pli­ca­ble to the apart­ments,” com­pany spokes­woman Chris­tine Tay­lor said.

The case fol­lows a law­suit filed in Au­gust by nine res­i­dents of an­other Kush­ner build­ing in Brook­lyn. Both cases were filed by the law firm New­man Fer­rara, which is seek­ing class-ac­tion sta­tus for both cases.

Jared Kush­ner stepped down as CEO of the Kush­ner Cos. ear­lier this year be­fore he be­came a se­nior ad­viser to his fa­therin-law, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. He has di­vested from many prop­er­ties, but still has in­ter­est in both build­ings at the cen­ter of the two law­suits, ac­cord­ing to his lat­est fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sure re­port filed with fed­eral ethics of­fi­cials.

The law­suit on Tues­day al­leges that ten­ants at all the units at 18 Sid­ney Place should have been charged rent-sta­bi­lized rates. It says there may be more than 75 for­mer and cur­rent res­i­dents who were charged too much rent in the nearly four years since Kush­ner Cos. bought the build­ing.

The non­profit tenant ad­vo­cacy group Hous­ing Rights Ini­tia­tive be­hind both law­suits said Tues­day that the Kush­ner Cos. has “brazenly and sys­tem­at­i­cally” ex­ploited ten­ants, and called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into dozens of its build­ings.

Apart­ments at 18 Sid­ney Place had been tem­po­rar­ily ex­empt from rent sta­bi­liza­tion laws un­der its pre­vi­ous owner, the Brook­lyn Law School, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. Un­der state rules, cer­tain land­lords who don’t rent to the pub­lic but use units to house em­ploy­ees or stu­dents can ap­ply for ex­emp­tions.

The Kush­n­ers bought the build­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2014 and listed units to rent by the pub­lic, but they failed to in­form ten­ants that they were en­ti­tled to lower rent-sta­bi­liza­tion rents, the law­suit al­leges.

The com­pany re­port­edly is look­ing to sell the build­ing, along with the one cited in the ear­lier law­suit at 144 Wil­low Street. A New York Post ar­ti­cle in July said the Kush­ner Cos. was ask­ing about $20 mil­lion for the two prop­er­ties. City records show the com­pany bought the two build­ings for $7.6 mil­lion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.