Maryland AG sues Kushner-owned apartment company over alleged 'deceptive' practices, rodent-infested units

Maryland AG sues Kushner-owned apartment company over alleged 'deceptive' practices, rodent-infested units
© Greg Nash

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against an apartment company owned by senior White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHouse panel tees up Trump executive privilege fight in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE over alleged “unfair or deceptive” practices while renting rodent-infested units in and around Baltimore.

The suit, filed by the Consumer Protection Division of Frosh’s office, alleges that Westminster Management and 25 companies it oversees have “victimized customers, many of whom are financially vulnerable, at all stages of offering and leasing consumer realty” in renting their Maryland properties, according to the complaint.

Frosh’s office argues that “tens of thousands” of people have tried to rent affordable units from Westminster and its affiliated companies, but instead of getting the “safe and well-maintained” apartments they expected, renters got “distressed, shoddily maintained” properties with “conditions that can adversely impact consumers’ health and well being.”

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The suit alleges that the companies have committed “hundreds of thousands of violations,” including renting units “infested by rodents and vermin,” sewage backups, appliances in poor condition and a lack of response from management to residents’ complaints.

“We allege this company cheated tenants before, during and after their tenancy, violating the Consumer Protection Act thousands of times,” Frosh tweeted.

Kushner Companies CEO Laurent Morali told The Baltimore Sun in a statement that the company would fight the allegations.

“We refuse to be extorted by an ambitious Attorney General who clearly cares more about scoring political points than fighting real crime and improving the lives of the people of Maryland," he said. "We look forward to defending ourselves against these bogus allegations.”

The lawsuit marks the latest development in a longstanding legal fight between Frosh, a Democrat, and Kushner, the son-in-law of President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE, the Sun notes. Despite stepping down as CEO of Westminster Management when he took his White House role in 2017, Kushner did not divest from the company’s properties.

The suit also comes after Trump earlier this summer attacked the parts of Baltimore represented by former Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFormer GOP congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik suing Candace Owens for defamation Former Cummings staffer unveils congressional bid McCarthy, GOP face a delicate dance on Jan. 6 committee MORE (D-Md.), who passed away last week, as a “rodent infested mess” and a “dangerous & filthy place.”