First daughter Ivanka Trump married a man with many of his father-in-law’s traits. The rental units that Jared Kushner’s company owns/manages have rodents, holes in the ceiling, and mold. That was ironic given that Donald Trump referred to Baltimore as “a rat and rodent-infested mess.” It gets worse.
Maryland’s Attorney General Brian Frosh sued the apartment management company Kushner ownes on the basis of “unfair or deceptive” rental practices. Kushner Cos. owns or Westminister manages 17 apartment complexes with around 9,000 units in the greater Baltimore area. The apartment and townhouses were “distressed, shoddily maintained.”
Attorneys in the Consumer Protection Division of Maryland Frosh’s office released a statement about the companies, which committed “hundreds of thousands of violations” of consumer protection laws. The statement read, according to The Baltimore Sun:
‘[Westminster Management and 25 companies whose properties it managed have] victimized consumers, many of whom are financially vulnerable, at all stages of offering and leasing [their apartments in Maryland.]’
‘The lawsuit alleges the rental units were in conditions that “can adversely impact consumers’ health and well being:”
‘[Many tenants] have had to endure living in units that are infested by rodents and vermin, plagued with water leaks that have caused mold and other issues, and, at times, lacking in basic utilities.’
‘[Some] have experienced rodent infestations so severe that they have rodents living and dying in walls and kitchen appliances; damaging carpeting; chewing holes in drywall and screen doors; and leaving droppings on floors, counter tops, and furniture.’
The CEO of Kushner Cos. Laurent Morali said they would fight the claims, according to The Sun:
‘We refuse to be extorted by an ambitious Attorney General who clearly cares more about scoring political points than fighting real crime and improving the lives of the people of Maryland. We look forward to defending ourselves against these bogus allegations.’
Frosh’s statement continued, denouncing the company’s allegations as “an extraordinary panoply of violations of the rights of tenants:”
‘They were cheating tenants before, during and after their tenancy, and when I tell you there were hundreds of thousands of violations of the Consumer Protection Act, it just begins to convey the seriousness of the charges. They caused serious harm and suffering to the people who lived in their units.’
The damages for the alleged violations could run in the millions of dollars. Frosh said:
‘We’re not arguing yet what the penalty might be, but we will at the end, and obviously the number of violations will play a big role.’
In addition to rodent infestations, the charges state that residents also alleged:
‘[S]ewage backups, appliances in disrepair, and a failure by management to respond to myriad complaints from residents. On top of the physical degradation of the properties, the statement alleges a slate of unfair practices in which management inappropriately collected application fees, misapplied late fees, improperly took security deposits and collected on debt without a license to do so.’
Frosh noted that this case was not politically related to the Trump administration or his son-in-law:
‘It has nothing to do with the administration. This is purely a Maryland issue: a Maryland management company and landlords that we feel have repeatedly and consistently violated our Consumer Protection Act. It doesn’t make any difference who owns it.’
In addition, Frosh has had:
‘[L]ots of similar cases where a landlord will charge fees that are inappropriate or withhold security deposits in a way that is inappropriate, [but none of] this magnitude…We would encourage any tenant that has experience with any of these entities to get in touch with us to let us know if they have had a good experience, a bad experience or something in between.’
Not only that, Kushner-related companies tried to have over 100 former tenants arrested.
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.