When the Kushner Cos. bought three apartment buildings in a gentrifying neighborhood of Queens in 2015, most of the tenants were protected by special rules that prevent developers from pushing them out, raising rents, and turning a tidy profit. But that's exactly what the company then run by Jared Kushner did, and with remarkable speed. Two years later, it sold all three buildings for $60 million, nearly 50% more than it paid. Now a clue has emerged as to how President Trump's son-in-law's firm was able to move so fast, the AP reports: The Kushner Cos. routinely filed false paperwork with the city declaring it had zero rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned across the city when, in fact, it had hundreds, including as many as 94 in the Queens buildings.
Had the Kushner Cos. disclosed those rent-regulated tenants, it could have triggered stricter oversight of construction crews by the city, including possibly unscheduled "sweeps" on site by inspectors to keep the company from harassing tenants and getting them to leave. While none of the documents during a three-year period when Kushner was CEO bore his personal signature, they provide a window into the ethics of the business empire he ran before joining the administration. "It's bare-faced greed," says Aaron Carr, founder of Housing Rights Initiative, a tenants' rights watchdog that compiled the false construction permit applications and shared them with the AP. Kushner Cos. responded in a statement that it outsources the preparation of such documents to third parties that are reviewed by independent counsel.