Neither Trump nor the immediate family members he has surrounded himself with in the White House have any significant public service in their past. They’ve touted this fact at times; Trump has claimed, for instance, that he intends to “drain the swamp” while in the White House.
That’s not all there is to the story, however. Although there have been indications to that effect in the past, a new report from The Associated Press details how at least one Trump family member — Jared Kushner, his son-in-law — didn’t come into the White House with a clean slate of a background.
As the report from the AP explains, the Kushner family business, which Trump’s son-in-law has ceded executive control over, while maintaining a financial stake in the enterprise, filed years of paperwork with New York City officials that included flat-out lies.
The company lied about the number of “rent-regulated tenants” in an array of buildings acquired by the president’s son-in-law’s family business. “Rent-regulated tenants” are tenants residing in a building through a transfer of ownership; the interest that acquires the building is forbidden by law from pressuring the residents out through any means, including spiking the rent required to live in the building.
Kushner Companies didn’t care.
A second means used in some cases to pressure tenants out of buildings — and used by Kushner Companies in New York City throughout recent years — is the “weaponization of construction,” as New York City Council member Ritchie Torres describes the practice.
That phrase describes construction that’s carried out in often ridiculously close proximity to residents of any given building; the construction can easily get to the point where it’s unbearable to live in the building in question.
This sort of construction was routinely carried out in Kushner-owned New York City buildings in recent years.
One tenant in a Kushner-owned building subjected to such a practice was 67-year-old Mary Ann Siwek, who described the situation as follows:
‘All of a sudden, there was drilling, drilling… You heard the drilling in the middle of night. There were rats coming in from the abandoned building next door. The hallways were always filled with lumber and sawdust and plaster.’
The above described living conditions are what tenants in buildings owned by the president’s son-in-law’s family business have routinely been subjected to — and yet, we are supposed to trust Kushner with such important policy areas as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
What’s he going to do, threaten to raise the Palestinians’ and Israelis’ rent in order to get them to stop harassing and terrorizing each other?
A group called the Housing Rights Initiative “compiled the work permit application documents and shared them with The Associated Press,” and the AP reports on what the group found about the scope of the problem with Kushner Companies construction projects in New York City:
‘In all, Housing Rights Initiative found the Kushner Cos. filed at least 80 false applications for construction permits in 34 buildings across New York City from 2013 to 2016, all of them indicating there were no rent-regulated tenants. Instead, tax documents show there were more than 300 rent-regulated units. Nearly all the permit applications were signed by a Kushner employee, including sometimes the chief operating officer.’
The terrible housing conditions to which tenants of his were subjected, often imposed with an aim to get the tenants out of the building in order to make more money off it, are hardly the only concern for Jared Kushner lately.
As yet another undercut to the fool’s errand of actually making Jared Kushner’s time in the White House mean something, he recently lost his top level security clearance during a restructuring of the process for granting such clearances in the White House.
There have been reports about him and his wife, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, considering leaving the Trump administration.
Featured Image via JIM WATSON/ AFP/ Getty Images