The president and his family like to surround themselves with people who think and act like them — unfair and likely illegal business practices and all.
The president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family business has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company, which owns an array of Baltimore area housing developments, has been unduly predatory in their rent collection practices. According to the suit, the company has been charging tenants for “court fees not actually approved by any court” and five percent late fees which are “often unfounded.” The five percent late fees have allegedly not just been tacked onto owed rent; they have also been being tacked onto the unfounded court fees.
When tenants do pay their rent, the rent payments have been put towards these unfounded fees setting a “vicious cycle” in motion in which tenants end up “late” on their rent and being charged for a whole new round of late fees and court costs. All the while, these tenants have been threatened with eviction and/or court summons if they don’t pay up right away.
The class-action lawsuit against Kushner Companies has been brought jointly by the Santoni, Vocci & Ortega and Brown Goldstein & Levy law offices along with the Public Justice Center, a “civil legal aid office” in the Baltimore area. The Santoni, Vocci & Ortega firm and the Public Justice Center have each been part of similar cases in the past, while the Brown Goldstein & Levy law office specializes in civil rights cases.
When all of these details are combined, it becomes obvious that the Trump administration’s goal of protecting the interest of working-class Americans is a joke. Like in their private lives, the president and the members of his inner circle are looking out for one thing and one thing alone — their pocketbooks.
Unsurprisingly, a spokesperson for Kushner Companies declined to comment, stating, “We will respond to the complaint at the appropriate time in the legal proceedings.”
The Kushner family company — which Jared Kushner himself lorded over as CEO before taking a position in his father-in-law’s White House — manages a total of about 9,000 apartment units in the Baltimore area. The Kushner family company has brought hundreds of cases against current and former tenants of their apartment complexes in local courts over the years, in some cases proceeding with their allegations of late payment and the like in the face of clear evidence that they were in the wrong.
The Baltimore Sun found that even though a representative for Kushner Companies claimed their behavior was “in line with industry practices,” the company went to such great lengths in their legal pursuits that they got twenty former tenants briefly detained by police over their allegations.
Now, tenants of Kushner Companies-managed complexes are fighting back.
Andrew D. Freeman, with the civil rights case specializing Brown, Goldstein & Levy firm commented that the Kushner Companies’ “misuse of Maryland courts’ eviction proceedings to force tenants to pay these improper fees makes this scheme all the more deplorable,” adding that, “it must be stopped.”
Whether or not the Kushner family company is forced to make restitution for their wrongdoing remains to be seen. In a smaller scale recent case, a former tenant of a Kushner-owned property finally got released from a $4,615 lien — after more than seven years.
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