Kushner Company Fined $210,000 For Lying About Rent-Protected Tenants

Charles Kushner 101 Mac Dougal Street and Rick Chandler

Charles Kushner 101 Mac Dougal Street and Rick Chandler

The fine comes after an AP investigation in March that showed Kushner Cos. frequently filed false construction permits with New York City saying it didn't have any rent-regulated tenants in the buildings it owned even though it had hundreds of them.

According to a report tenant activists issued Monday, an investment group headed by Michael Cohen has also allegedly falsified construction permits by lying about how many rent-stabilized tenants occupy the buildings.

"In no case did the company act in disregard of the safety of our tenants", said spokeswoman Christine Taylor.

She acknowledged that "there were some violations issued for paperwork errors" but said "the company relied on third party consultants for the preparation of these forms and if in error they have been corrected or will be". "We look forward to presenting the facts before an administrative law judge and until then no amount is due". This rule is in place to ensure that landlords don't use the construction process as harassment to force out those tenants paying cheap rents.

The city Dept. of Buildings on Monday slapped the Kushner Companies with $210,000 in violations for filing false permit applications at 17 buildings between 2013 and 2016.

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The claims that they had no rent-controlled tenants allowed the firm to commence with heavy construction to update their buildings. Housing Rights Initiative said tenants were posting complaints to the city about living conditions during construction, proof that there were indeed people living there.

The Kushners sold the Queens buildings in 2017 for $60 million, almost 50 percent more than they had paid for them two years earlier.

Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, declined to comment. Nineteen current and former tenants filed a $10 million lawsuit against the company, charging that they were subjected to endless hours of risky construction conditions beginning in 2015, including toxic dust, noise, flooding and rodent infestations.

Soldevere said almost all of the permit applications for the Cohen properties include "tenant protection plans" created to safeguard residents during construction.

In one instance, the Cohen group reportedly said that there were no rent-stabilized tenants in a property that actually had 19.

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