Creative Map-Making and EB-5 Funds…. How Grants to Help the Poor are Making Jared Kushner Richer(er)

http://longisland.news12.com/story/35560404/kushners-used-creative-mapmaking-to-gain-visa-tied-funds

Creative Kushner mapping underscores holes in visa program

NEW YORK (AP) – The Kushner Cos. engaged in a bit of creative mapmaking to qualify one of its buildings in a booming New Jersey waterfront neighborhood across from Manhattan for a federal visa-for-investment program targeting struggling areas.

Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner placed its 65 Bay Street building in Jersey City in a map stringing together two dozen other areas, some with high unemployment.

The map was included in a 2015 application to the EB-5 visa program that allows overseas investors to obtain U.S. residency in exchange for investments of $500,000 or more in rural areas or those with high unemployment.

The maps are legal, and many other developers engage in the practice. But the practice is one of the reasons the EB-5 visa program has come under criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.

James Yolles, a spokesman for the Kushner Cos., declined to comment. The Kushner property is co-owned with developer KABR Group. KABR has not responded to voicemail and email requests for comment.

The special maps were reported earlier by The Washington Post.

The building at 65 Bay Street has licensed the Trump name from the president’s company, and is better known as “Trump Bay Street.” It received millions from wealthy overseas investors through the EB-5 program.

The Kushner Cos. was recently pitching to potential EB-5 investors in China for another Jersey City property. Called One Journal Square, it is a planned 79-story two tower complex in a struggling area of the city. The company is seeking 300 wealthy Chinese to invest a total of $150 million.

Jared Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, created a stir in March after reports she had mentioned her brother, a senior adviser to Trump, in a presentation in China. Marketing materials for the event also cited the Kushner family’s “celebrity” status.

The Kushner Cos. said Meyer’s intention was not to use the connection to the White House to lure investors. Jared Kushner stepped down as CEO of the Kushner Cos. when he joined the White House. His lawyer has said that he has sold his stake in One Journal Square.

To handle the mapmaking for Trump Bay Street, the Kushner Cos. turned to Evans, Carroll & Associates, an economic consultancy in Boca Raton, Florida.

On May 6, 2015, Evans emailed the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development requesting that it review a proposed map stretching over two dozen census tracts. The map formed an odd shape, with some relatively low unemployment areas separated by a few miles to high unemployment ones.

By the end of the month, came New Jersey’s reply: The areas included in the map, called a Targeted Employment Area, had an overall unemployment rate of 9.8 percent – high enough to qualify for the EB-5 program.

The unemployment rate for the single census tract that includes 65 Bay Street was not mentioned in the emails, but has typically been much lower, according to Dave Evans of Evans, Carroll & Associates. Evans said the unemployment rate last year for the census tract that includes 65 Bay Street averaged 1.3 percent.

In order to qualify for EB-5 financing, a building needs to be in a Targeted Employment Area with unemployment 150 percent above the average U.S. rate.

Critics have faulted the EB-5 program for failing to bring investment into poor communities as intended. By gerrymandering together rich geographic areas with poor ones, developers have managed to win approval from economic development authorities for luxury projects in Manhattan, California’s Beverly Hills and Miami’s South Beach.

Earlier this year, Evans, Carroll & Associates emailed New Jersey state officials for Kushner’s One Journal Square project, too.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

 

JK2 Westminster – Jared Kushner’s Real Estate Empire and the Lives He Has Destroyed, Humiliated, Nicked and Dimed.. Have you no Conscience???

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The Beleaguered Tenants of ‘Kushnerville’

Tenants in more than a dozen Baltimore-area rental complexes complain about a property owner who they say leaves their homes in disrepair, humiliates late-paying renters and often sues them when they try to move out. Few of them know that their landlord is the president’s son-in-law.

https://www.propublica.org/article/the-beleaguered-tenants-of-kushnerville?

Victims of Jared Kushner’s Greed and Jeffrey Tapper’s Profitable Lawyering:

  1. Kamiia Warren – single mother – sued for thousands over 3 years and 112 actions

  2. Jasmine Cox – Maggots – Sewage flowing out of kitchen sick – sued for replacing carpet

  3. Joan Beverly  – pancreatic cancer victim sued for thousands

  4. Katherine Silver – University Student – eviction proceedings while away, no heat or hot water and sued for rent and court costs

  5. Joan Beverly’s Daughter Lennettea – defending dying mother who signed her lease for her

  6. Tyrone Beverly – Joan Beverly’s widower still being pursued for payments

  7. Showanda Hough – A victim who fought back – exception – Judge found for Hough

  8. Alishia Jamesson and Fiance Keith Riggs – Paid to fix holes in walls – remain unrepaired, no refrigerator for months

  9. Marquita Parmely – truck driver – mouse infestation

  10. Chris Freimiller – leaks from the toilet and ceiling damage and constant late fees

  11. Jen Jackson – mold problem remains unfixed and admonished for speaking with press

  12. Mike McHargue  and girlfriend Patricia Howell

 

“When Kushner Companies finally responded to my questions about the cases, they essentially affirmed Hertz’s reasoning. As manager for the Baltimore complexes, the company had a “fiduciary obligation” to its ownership partners to collect as much revenue as it could, said Kushner Companies’ chief financial officer, Jennifer McLean, in a written response. She said the company’s legal costs have been “minimal” compared with what it seeks to recover.
McLean declined to comment on several cases, including Kamiia Warren’s. But she said the pursuit of Joan Beverly, the woman dying of cancer, was justified. “This tenant owed the landlord $3,819.16,” she said in the written statement. “As property manager, it’s our job to collect rent payments.”
In general, “Westminster Management only takes legal action against a tenant when absolutely necessary,” McLean said. “If legal action is pursued, however, the company follows guidelines consistent with industry standards.” She added: “While taking a tenant to court is far from an ideal outcome, that option — and clear rules governing it — must exist as a last resort.””
https://www.propublica.org/article/the-beleaguered-tenants-of-kushnerville?

 

Meet Jared Kushner, scumbag slumlord

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/5/29/1665349/-Meet-Jared-Kushner-scumbag-slumlord

Did you know Trump son-in-law and now Adviser For All The Things Jared Kushner is a slumlord? Yeah, Jared Kushner is a slumlord.

The worst troubles may have been those described in a 2013 court case involving Jasmine Cox’s unit at Cove Village. They began with the bedroom ceiling, which started leaking one day. Then maggots started coming out of the living room carpet. Then raw sewage started flowing out of the kitchen sink. “It sounded like someone turned a pool upside down,” Cox told me. “I heard the water hitting the floor and I panicked. I got out of bed and the sink is black and gray, it’s pooling out of the sink and the house smells terrible.”Cox stopped cooking for herself and her son, not wanting food near the sink. A judge allowed her reduced rent for one month. When she moved out soon afterward, Westminster Management sent her a $600 invoice for a new carpet and other repairs. Cox, who is now working as a battery-test engineer and about to buy her first home, was unaware who was behind the company that had put her through such an ordeal. When I told her of Kushner’s involvement, there was a silence as she took it in.

“Get that [expletive] out of here,” she said.

That’s from Alec MacGillis’ investigation into the state of multiple Kushner-owned properties managed under the name JK2 Westminster, and specifically of the company’s unusually aggressive court actions against renters. The Kushner clan bought up an array of distressed and dilapidated properties, older complexes where renters pay about $1,000 a month, and Jared’s quite pleased with their performance, calling it a “very stable asset class.” As CEO of the company up until he got tapped by Donald Trump to fix the entire Middle East, the opiate crisis, and whatever else ya got, one of the ways Jared squeezed more money out of the properties than the previous owners was to shortchange renters on needed fixes—and then sue them when they tried to move out.

In the cases that Tapper has brought to court on behalf of JK2 Westminster and individual Kushner-controlled companies, there is a clear pattern of Kushner Companies’ pursuing tenants over virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease — even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants’ side. Not only does the company file cases against them, it pursues the cases for as long as it takes to collect from the overmatched defendants — often several years.

You can see why Trump’s taken such a liking to the guy: he’s a Trump man through and through. Trump will charge lower-income Americans extravagant prices for not-classes at his not-university, and Kushner will sue them for past rent when they get back home.

And so we’re told the tale of collapsed drywall ceilings, mice in beds, nonworking appliances, and the usual signs you’re living in a complex owned by someone who may or may not later end up in jail. Those go alongside tales of Kushner’s company aggressively pursuing $5,000 judgments against deceased cancer patients, or people who have been made sick from the mold or rodent droppings, or people who got permission to leave their leases early from the local property manager but the head office never got the paperwork so screw you, that’s why.

Very few of the complex residents I met, even ones who had been pursued at length in court by JK2 Westminster, had any idea that their rent and late fees were going to the family company of the president’s son-in-law. “That Jared Kushner?” Danny Jackson, a plumber in his 15th year living at Harbor Point Estates, exclaimed. “Oh, my God. And I thought he was the good one.”

Yeah, he does try to give that impression. So, ya know … oops.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/5/29/1665349/-Meet-Jared-Kushner-scumbag-slumlord

The Kushner Chronicles – Litigious Slumlord Evicting Single Mothers – The Kamiia Warren Eviction – part II

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Tenants allege Trump’s son-in-law is a Baltimore “slumlord,” and that’s not even the worst of it

http://www.citypaper.com/blogs/the-news-hole/bcpnews-trump-s-son-in-law-is-a-baltimore-slumlord-and-that-s-not-even-the-worst-of-it-20170523-story.html

Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, sues his Baltimore tenants for thousands of dollars in bogus debts, on which he also gets judgments allowing him to garnish their wages and drain their bank accounts.

This according to Pro Publica’s Alec MacGillis, who reports in a story for this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine that Kushner quietly bought-up thousands of modest and run-down apartment units in Essex and other Baltimore suburbs, whose tenants complain of poor maintenance, harsh rent collection techniques, and relentless pursuit of old and sometimes dubious debts generated after tenants moved out.

MacGillis leads off with Kamiia Warren, who moved out of Cove Village in Essex years ago to get away from a crazy neighbor. She had permission to do so from the apartment’s managers, yet Kushner’s company sued her years later for breaking the lease, winning more than $3,000 plus fees and expenses: almost $5,000 total by 2014.

At one point in the story, a private investigator looking into Westminster Management, Kusher’s property management company says, “they’re nothing but slumlords.” MacGillis notes the P.I. is a Trump supporter and had no idea of the connection between Trump’s son-in-law and Westminster.

MacGillis finds hundreds of cases, and the story profiles several other tenants with similar experiences. A spokesperson for Kushner’s company tells MacGillis that it owes a fiduciary duty to its investors to try to collect all outstanding debts. The story does not explain how or why it’s legal for the landlord to effectively generate the debts out of thin air, or why the District Court judges routinely uphold them. He tries to talk to Kushner’s collection lawyer, Jeffrey Tapper.

“In the cases that Tapper has brought to court on behalf of JK2 Westminster and individual Kushner-controlled companies, there is a clear pattern of Kushner Companies’ pursuing tenants over virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease—even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants’ side,” MacGillis writes.

Tapper blows him off.

Aside from the presidential connection, the story reads much like Doug Donovan and Jean Marbella’s Baltimore Sun series a few weeks ago on Baltimore City’s rent court, where the deck is said to be stacked pretty high against tenants.


 http://www.citypaper.com/blogs/the-news-hole/bcpnews-trump-s-son-in-law-is-a-baltimore-slumlord-and-that-s-not-even-the-worst-of-it-20170523-story.html

 

 

SEE ALSO:

Jared Kushner’s Beleaguered Tenants

The idea of working with little pay and no fanfare to make people’s struggles less onerous is a sucker’s game for Mr. Trump and his cohort. When members of Team Trump play, they are never the sucker. They exploit foreclosures, promote legislation to benefit themselves, stiff workers and contractors and create multimillion-dollar scams.

For the past few years, Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, who is now in charge of vital parts of the president’s agenda, has been a landlord of often decrepit low-income housing. His subordinates aggressively sue tenants for the smallest infractions despite ignoring maintenance needs, and they pursue judgments even when the tenant seems to have been in the right. While landlord-tenant disputes are hardly new, tenants in Kushner complexes have complained that the company used legal action to hound them on thin or specious grounds.

Since 2011, subsidiaries of Kushner Companies, the family real estate business Mr. Kushner ran until January, bought 20,000 apartments in 34 complexes in Maryland, Ohio and New Jersey. An investigation for The New York Times Magazine and ProPublica, by Alec MacGillis, found that one major Kushner subsidiary, JK2 Westminster, had 548 cases on file against Maryland tenants. Hundreds of other cases have been filed there by individual Kushner apartment complexes.

Community organizers could have helped Kushner tenants like Kamiia Warren of suburban Baltimore, who was sued for moving out of her apartment without giving two months’ notice despite having done so. Mr. Kushner’s company won an almost $5,000 judgment anyway, and garnished her wages as a home health worker, and her bank account.

The Times investigation quotes the Kushner Companies’ chief financial officer, Jennifer McLean, as saying that the company has a “fiduciary obligation” to collect as much revenue as possible. Mr. MacGillis adds: “One way to make sure that tenants are paying their rent and to keep them from breaking leases early … is to instill a sense of fear about violating a lease.”

The Kushner Chronicles – Litigious Slumlord Evicting Single Mothers – The Kamiia Warren Eviction – part I

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Baltimore-area properties owned by Kushner Companies. Credit Philip Montgomery for The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/23/magazine/jared-kushners-other-real-estate-empire.html

Jared Kushner’s Other Real Estate Empire

Baltimore-area renters complain about a property owner they say is
neglectful and litigious. Few know their landlord is the president’s son-in-law.

This article is a collaboration between The Times and ProPublica, the independent nonprofit investigative-journalism organization.

The townhouse on High Seas Court in the Cove Village development, in the Baltimore suburb of Essex, was not exactly the Cape Cod retreat that its address implied: It was a small unit looking onto a parking lot, the windows of its two bedrooms so high and narrow that a child would have had to stand on a chair to see out of them. But to Kamiia Warren, who moved into the townhouse in 2004, it was a refuge, and a far cry from the East Baltimore neighborhood where she grew up. “I mean, there were bunny rabbits all hopping around,” she told me recently.

In the townhouse next door lived an older woman with whom Warren became friendly, even doing her grocery shopping once in a while. But over the course of a few months, the woman started acting strangely. She began accosting Warren’s visitors. She shouted through the walls during the day. And at night she banged on the wall, right where Warren kept the bassinet in which her third child slept, waking him up.

Warren sent a letter reporting the problem to the complex’s property manager, a company called Sawyer Realty Holdings. When there was no response, she decided to move out. In January 2010, she submitted the requisite form giving two months’ notice that she was transferring her Section 8 voucher — the federal low-income subsidy that helped her pay the rent — elsewhere. The complex’s on-site manager signed the form a week later, checking the line that read “The tenant gave notice in accordance with the lease.”

So Warren was startled in January 2013, three years later, when she received a summons from a private process server informing her that she was being sued for $3,014.08 by the owner of Cove Village. The lawsuit, filed in Maryland District Court, was doubly bewildering. It claimed she owed the money for having left in advance of her lease’s expiration, though she had received written permission to leave. And the company suing her was not Sawyer, but one whose name she didn’t recognize: JK2 Westminster L.L.C.

Warren was raising three children alone while taking classes for a bachelor’s degree in health care administration, and she disregarded the summons at first. But JK2 Westminster’s lawyers persisted; two more summonses followed. In April 2014, she appeared without a lawyer at a district-court hearing. She told the judge about the approval for her move, but she did not have a copy of the form the manager had signed. The judge ruled against Warren, awarding JK2 Westminster the full sum it was seeking, plus court costs, attorney’s fees and interest that brought the judgment to nearly $5,000. There was no way Warren, who was working as a home health aide, was going to be able to pay such a sum. “I was so desperate,” she said.

If the case was confounding to Warren, it was not unique. Hundreds like it have been filed over the last five years by JK2 Westminster and affiliated businesses in the state of Maryland alone, where the company owns some 8,000 apartments and townhouses. Nor was JK2 Westminster quite as anonymous as its opaque name suggested. It was a subsidiary of a large New York real estate firm called Kushner Companies, which was led by a young man whose initials happened to be J.K.: Jared Kushner.

……………………………….

Continue reading

The Kushner Files – Like Father, Like Son? Kushner the SlumLord…

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https://www.marketplace.org/2017/05/26/business/what-its-have-jared-kushner-landlord

 

What it was like to have Jared Kushner as a landlord

Kushner is the son-in-law of the president of the United States, a senior official in the Trump White House and, according to some reports, a person of interest in the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and Russian interference. He’s also a big name in commercial real estate. Although he’s stepped away from a formal role managing his family’s real estate businesses, he’s still a beneficiary of the company and its investments.

ProPublica reporter Alec MacGillis spent time at some of the Kushner Companies’ lesser-known properties for a story in the New York Times Magazine this weekend. He talked with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about what he learned. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kai Ryssdal: Just as a way to get going here, give me the background on the Kushner Companies and specifically Jared’s role in those companies in that family enterprise before the election.

Alec MacGillis: Well, the Kushner Companies is a major real estate company that goes back decades back to Jared’s grandfather, and we think of them usually as a company with these very fancy high-end holdings. But in fact, they also have these very modest downscale holdings around the country that Jared himself bought. He made these purchases in 2011, 2012, soon after the recession and just got them at a real bargain and saw them as a good investment that would produce a steady revenue stream.

Ryssdal: The thrust of the piece in the Times this weekend is the extent to which and the vigor with which Kushner Companies and their subsidiaries go after and collect the debts from some of these tenants. Tell me about Kamiia Warren.

Alec MacGillis: So, she was single mom who had three kids. Back in 2010, she was living in one of these units and she decided to move out. Couple years later, a process server comes to her new house and says, “You are being sued for several thousand dollars because you broke your lease.” And she’s very confused by this because she had not broken her lease. She had gotten written permission to move. But she was also confused because the company that was suing her was a company she’d never heard of. Turns out, that the Kushner companies had, in the intervening time, bought this complex. And they had basically gone back through the records looking for any former tenants that they could possibly go after for more money — anyone who had broken a lease or owed back rent when they had left, even if it was two or three years earlier. And one of the people they swept up in this sort of clawback was Kamiia. And they went after her. She went to court. She unfortunately did not have a copy of that signed form anymore, and the judge sided with the company and she ended up getting a judgment of almost $5,000 when all the different interests and fees and late fees and court costs and attorney’s fees were piled on.

Ryssdal: And her wages were garnished right? Her bank account gets garnished.

MacGillis: Exactly. She got wiped out. She finally did get a copy of the form and she brought it to court and said, “Here, I’ve even got the form,” but even that didn’t help. And the judgment stood. She’s now got a court lien against her, which has completely destroyed her credit record.

Ryssdal: You called the company. What did they say?

MacGillis: Company said that this is just how it works. Basically, it was remarkably businesslike, almost brusque response from the company saying, “First of all we follow industry standards in these matters. Second of all, these are contracts that are signed by the tenants and they owe us this money, and if they break a lease we’re going to come after them.” In the case of Kamiia Warren, they had no specific response. They said, “We decline to comment on that particular case.”

Ryssdal: There are anecdotes like that throughout the piece and included in many of them was the question you asked of whether or not they knew Jared Kushner was, at some level of remove, their landlord. What did they say?

MacGillis: Almost nobody had any idea that he was their landlord. They were stunned when they found out. And a lot of them in fact did not even know who Jared Kushner was. I would say, “Are you aware that your complex is owned by Jared Kushner or the family of Jared Kushner?” And that name often meant nothing to them. It was only when I described Jared Kushner as, you know, the husband of Ivanka, then they made the connection and then it really sank in. One of the things that comes through in these complexes is just how completely disconnected people in this realm are politically. So many people I spoke to did not vote at all. These are people living right on the edge of a mid-size city right on the East Coast, 40 miles from Washington, and they’re very cut off politically. It’s another reminder of just how great the sort of disconnect is in the lower tiers of our society.

https://www.marketplace.org/2017/05/26/business/what-its-have-jared-kushner-landlord

Tricky Government Contracts and the Kushner Empire – Ethicists Welcome News…

bayfront

 

https://therealdeal.com/2017/05/10/kushner-companies-scraps-planned-orthodox-jewish-community-in-jersey-city/

Kushner Companies scraps planned Orthodox Jewish community in Jersey City

Had it been granted the $150M bid, the company could have built 8,100 homes at formerly contaminated Bayfront site

UPDATED, May 10, 12:30 p.m.: Kushner Companies was the leading bidder on an industrial site called Bayfront in Jersey City that would become home to a planned Jewish community geared toward members of Orthodox sects who are being priced out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

But when Bloomberg reporters asked company spokesperson James Yolles about the bid on Tuesday, Yolles said that the company already dropped any intentions it had to buy the site from Honeywell and Jersey City for $150 million. An unnamed Kushner employee also told the news site that these plans were dropped late last year, but the office of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said it was unaware of this and has yet to receive any word of Kushner’s withdrawal from consideration.

It’s unclear if the Kushners decided to abandon the project for ethics reasons, but Honeywell, a Fortune 100 list conglomerate, has billions in government contracts that could prove tricky in any dealmaking tied to the Kushners. The development would likely also require federal subsidies to improve the infrastructure within and surrounding the site. “It’s a good sign that they are pulling out,” Larry Noble, general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, told Bloomberg. “Though the question is whether or not it’s just because of the publicity or because they actually see there is a potential conflict of interest in these situations.”

In a statement to The Real Deal, Yolles said “a decision was made late last year not to pursue the project because the company was not persuaded by the economics of the deal.”

Last weekend, the company made front page news when White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s sister Nicole promoted a Jersey City project at One Journal Square to Chinese investors. The sales pitch made mention of Kushner Companies’ ties to the White House and Nicole told the audience the project was “important” to her entire family. It was later reported that the project in question is going through a rough spot, losing an anchor tenant in WeWork and at risk of losing a key 30-year tax abatement.  [Bloomberg]  — Will Parker

 

To read the article in TheRealDeal click here.

 

See Also:

National Real Estate Investor: http://www.nreionline.com/investment/kushners-abandon-property-bid-pressures-mount-over-conflicts