'A tier-one predator': New doc details how 'slumlord' Jared Kushner allegedly exploited his White House position
President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner will be the newest villain on the upcoming Netflix docuseries "Dirty Money."
The show, which focuses on the "untold stories of scandal, financial malfeasance and corruption," will devote an episode to Kushner's time as the head of Kushner Companies in its new season premiering on March 11. The show previously looked at Trump's business dealings in an episode titled "The Confidence Man."
Kushner, who is described in the trailer for the show as a "tier-one predator," will be featured on the episode "Slumlord Millionaire." The episode will detail Kushner Companies' shady business tactics. Kushner took control of the company after his father, Charles, went to prison for trying to obstruct an investigation by blackmailing his sister with a video of his brother-in-law having sex with a prostitute. The probe was led by then-prosecutor Chris Christie
The episode shows "the apple didn't fall far from the tree," The Daily Beast wrote in its preview, noting that Kushner "quickly began managing the family business via underhanded practices of a despicable sort."
Much of the episode focuses on "construction harassment." The show details how Kushner Cos. regularly ousted residents from its rent-stabilized apartments in New York by launching "unnecessary large-scale renovations intended to make life so miserable that tenants flee their homes," The Beast reported. In turn, the company was able to increase rent prices without running afoul of the city's rent regulations.
The company also failed to repair damages in apartments and hit residents with baseless rent fees in both New York and Maryland.
Residents at the company's Maryland apartments accused the company of forcing them to pay sham penalty fees when the company needed additional revenue after its disastrous purchase of 666 Fifth Avenue for a record $1.8 billion in 2007.
After leaving his role at the company to work at the White House, the show looks at how Kushner "exploited his undeserved political role to obtain lucrative financial deals for his family, which in turn has made him a figure easily exploited by foreign powers eager to gain leverage over the president," The Beast reported, describing the episode as a portrait of "unrepentant real-estate scumbaggery."
Kushner Cos. bought up 6,000 rental units last year in the Maryland and Virginia area for $1 billion in spite of a long history of allegations of fraud and misconduct.
The company was fined $210,000 in 2018 for 42 instances of failing to identify rent-regulated tenants at one of their New York properties in violation of regulations.
"Misrepresenting the facts to make a buck is shameful, especially when you're hurting tenants and worsening the city's housing crisis by doing so," New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said at the time.
The company's tactics also came under the scrutiny of prosecutors in Maryland. A 2017 investigation found that Kushner Cos. sought the civil arrest of 105 tenants since 2013, making it the most frequent user of the tactic in the state.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed a lawsuit last year accusing the company of using "unfair or deceptive" practices after a years-long investigation determined it was responsible for "hundreds of thousands" of violations.
The company charged "sham" fees on "distressed, shoddily maintained units" that had "conditions that can adversely impact consumers' health and well being," Frosh said.
Many tenants "have had to endure living in the units that are infested with rodents and vermin, plagued with water leaks that have caused mold and other issues, and, at times, lacking basic utilities," he added. Others "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."