Kushner’s company subpoenaed by federal jury after filing false paperwork
The Kushner Cos. received a federal subpoena on Thursday as investigators look into whether the real estate company repeatedly filed false paperwork that incorrectly claimed it served zero rent-regulated tenants.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Kushner Cos. received a subpoena from the prosecutors in the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office, who are demanding information in response to an article from The Associated Press claiming the company often filed paperwork claiming it had zero tenants in buildings where in fact hundreds of rent-regulated tenants lived.
In response to the article, Kushner Cos. claimed that the paperwork was filed by a third party, and that “if mistakes or violations are identified, corrective action is taken immediately.”
The subpoena requests information on the identities of those third parties, according to a source familiar with the letter. The documents were filed during Jared Kushner’s time as the company’s CEO, but do not contain his signature, the Journal reports.
A spokeswoman for Kushner Cos. said that the company had “already” complied with the subpoena, and dismissed it as “solely” based on the AP’s reporting.
“Kushner Companies has nothing to hide and is cooperating fully with all legitimate requests for information, including this subpoena,” said the spokeswoman, who added: “We believe that this subpoena, which has already been complied with, was issued based solely on an article that appeared in the press the day before it was issued.”
The AP reported in March that Kushner Cos. bought three apartment buildings in Queens before pushing tenants out and raising the rent on those who stayed, despite an agreement stating the company would not push out tenants or raise rents to increase profits.
Kushner Cos. then sold those buildings two years later for drastically higher prices, the AP reported.
“It’s barefaced greed,” said Aaron Carr, founder of tenants’ rights watchdog Housing Rights Initiative, which first alerted the AP to the story.
“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,” Carr said in March.
A spokesperson for the company denied at the time that Kushner Cos. had violated the rights of any of its tenants.
“Kushner would never deny any tenant their due-process rights,” Kushner Cos. told the AP.
It also said it “has renovated thousands of apartments and developments with minimal complaints over the past 30 years.”