NY to investigate allegations of tenant harassment by Kushner Cos.

 NY to investigate allegations of tenant harassment by Kushner Cos.
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New York state is launching an investigation into Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerOvernight Health Care: Lawsuit challenges Arkansas Medicaid work requirements | CVS program targets high-cost drugs | Google parent invests in ObamaCare startup Oscar Hillicon Valley: Omarosa drops bombshell claim about Trump, WikiLeaks | Dems turn up heat over fake FCC cyberattack | Uber hires ex-NSA official to improve security | FBI boosts cyber team Google parent invests 5M in ObamaCare startup Oscar MORE's family real estate business after a report revealed allegations of tenant harassment at one of its properties.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal announced on Monday that its Tenant Protection Unit would examine whether Kushner Cos. violated the state's housing laws and regulations by carrying on years-long renovations at a Williamsburg, Brooklyn building.

Current and former tenants in the rent-stabilized Austin Nichols House told The Associated Press that the morning-to-night construction spread dangerous dust throughout the building, exposed them to constant noise and violated their privacy in an effort to drive them out and make way for high-paying buyers.

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The AP report details allegations that workers often entered apartments without prior notice. When tenants complained about the work, the AP reported, Kushner Cos. reminded them that it had obtained permits.

Some tenants also experienced rent increases of $500 or more, according to the AP. Over the past three years, about 75 percent of the building's apartments had either been cleared out or sold to high-paying buyers.

The rate of tenant turnover at the property exceeded the average in New York City's rent-stabilized buildings, according to data reviewed by the AP. 

"Governor [Andrew] Cuomo has zero tolerance for tenant abuse of any kind and we will aggressively take on landlords who try to intimidate people out of their homes," RuthAnne Visnauskas, the commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, said in a statement.

"In New York, no one is above the law, and we will thoroughly investigate the appalling allegations of harassment at this or any related property and hold anyone found guilty of such abuse responsible to the fullest extent of the law."

Kushner, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE's son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, bought the property in 2015 along with two partners with the intention of converting the apartments into condos. While still a stakeholder in the company, he is not involved in its day-to-day management.

In a statement to The Hill, Kushner Cos. denied that it had ever harassed tenants at its properties and suggested that the accusations were a product of the "current political climate."

Kushner Companies respects and values its tenants and that is how we built such a great and successful business for more than 35 years," the statement reads. "There have been no complaints to the DHCR regarding any type of harassment or unsafe conditions."

"We are confident that the TPU will reach that conclusion when they finish the rent review announced today. We understand the current political environment. Sadly, we are caught in the middle and continue to have baseless and meritless claims filed against us. Nonetheless, we will continue to develop first rate projects and provide our tenants with a great product."

The company previously told the AP in a statement that "tremendous care was taken to prevent dust and inconvenience to tenants." It also said that, while it did receive complaints from tenants, it addressed the grievances quickly.

--Updated at 4:42 p.m.