(Bloomberg)—An apartment management firm run by Jared Kushner’s family was sued by Maryland’s attorney general, who claims the company engaged in numerous “illegal and harmful” practices.
Westminster Management lied about the quality of rental units and the level of maintenance the company would provide, routinely failing to address hazardous conditions in the properties, including vermin infestations, water leaks and mold growth, Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement.
“We’re charging that Westminster and the rental property owners in this case took advantage of consumers, primarily low- and middle-income families, collecting fees and other unlawful costs from them and often failing to make the repairs needed to maintain suitable environments for their tenants,” Frosh said.
Westminster Management is a unit of Kushner Cos., a family-run, New York-based business that owns, manages and develops properties. Kushner Cos. was run by Jared Kushner before he joined the administration of President Donald Trump, his father-in-law. The family firm was built on working-class apartment complexes in New Jersey and Maryland. Some of the properties in the suit are owned by other companies but managed by Westminster.
The suit, an administrative proceeding by the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Unit, comes just over a month since Laurent Morali, president of Kushner Cos., said Westminster had rejected an offer from Frosh to settle a long-running probe into how its tenants were treated, according to the Associated Press.
“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,” Morali said. “We look forward to defending ourselves against these bogus allegations.”
In July, Trump attacked the Baltimore district of Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, describing it as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Cummings died last week.
--With assistance from Andrew Harris.
To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at [email protected]
© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.