Jared Kushner is not only a greedy prick who’s complicit in the fiasco known as the Trump presidency, he’s also a first rate slumlord. Here’s a depressing “highlight” from the recent New York Times magazine piece outlining his disgusting behavior:
In March 2009, Joan Beverly, a probation agent, signed the lease for her daughter, Lennettea, for a unit at Dutch Village, a complex on the northern edge of Baltimore. Lennettea moved out a year later, several months before her lease was up. Kushner Companies bought Dutch Village more than two years later. In December 2012, JK2 Westminster filed suit in Baltimore County District Court against Beverly, seeking $3,810.16 — several months of rent it said it was owed, plus about $1,000 in repair costs, including $10 for “failure to return laundry room card.”
That February, Lennettea filed a written court notice explaining that her mother, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, was “in terminal hospice care and is not eligible to work.” She added by way of supporting evidence a letter from the hospice provider to Joan Beverly’s bank, explaining her and her husband’s late mortgage payments on their home: “There has been added financial stress because Mrs. Beverly is very ill at this time.” But JK2 Westminster persisted in seeking a hearing on the suit. In March, a district court judge found in favor of the company — a total judgment against Joan of more than $5,500. Joan died two weeks later.
The entire piece is essential reading.
Now, the Kushner family real estate company is trying to evict a local Williamsburg business — the owners of Pudge Knuckles coffee on Kent Avenue. Last June owners Hartje Andresen and Ivan Greene were forced to close due to a fire in the building for which they were not responsible. Shutting down during the summer cost them tens of thousands in revenue, but this hasn’t prevented the Kushner company from pursuing them aggressively for a few months back rent:
The coffee shop Pudge Knuckles closed in mid-June 2016, when a fire in its century-old Williamsburg building set off sprinklers that flooded the place. The blaze was one of at least five in the building in a little over a month, all still unsolved. The water soaked the cafe’s walls, coffee bags, custom furniture, and all the rest…
In a motion responding to the initial suit, Love argued that the entrepreneurs didn’t owe rent for last summer because they’d been constructively evicted, a legal term for when building conditions become so hazardous that a tenant must move out. Based on the rough contours of the situation, not having read the lease or the corresponding court documents, tenant lawyer Samuel Himmelstein said that it sounds like the cafe has a case….
“If during this period of reconstruction the tenant was not operating a business, the tenant has a defense for constructive eviction,” he said. (Separately, Himmelstein’s firm is representing the building’s tenant association in trying to negotiate favorable condo purchase terms.)
In his response to the lawsuit, Love also wrote that the building’s owners had cost the couple over $100,000 in lost income. Scaffolding for facade work went up out front in March, further obscuring the business, which is already set back from the road.
In addition to the fires, which management blamed on an unnamed “obviously sick” tenant, renters in the building have complained of lacking repairs, lax security, gas and hot water outages, construction dust invading their apartments, and infestations of rats, mice, and ants. Greene and Andresen lived in the building at the time of the sale, but, Greene said, “We bailed very early because it was clear they were doing constructive evictions.”