An apartment management company co-owned by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has taken action in court to evict hundreds of tenants whose finances have taken a hit from COVID -19, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Westminster Management has moved against largely low- and middle-income tenants in the Baltimore area, many of them Black, whose apartments are managed by the company, according to the Post.
A state moratorium protects tenants against evictions as people struggle with loss of jobs during the pandemic. A federal moratorium for government-supported housing, which includes some run by Westminster, also offers tenant protections during the crisis.
But Westminster, which manages some 20,000 apartments, and other management companies are eager to get started on the process against tenants with past-due rent.
One resident of a Westminster-managed apartment Tashika Booker, told the Post she lost her job working for an online education company because of the pandemic. She said she’s struggling to pay rent as she seeks other work.
Westminster, part of the Kushner family’s Kushner Cos., said in a statement that Westminster’s actions are fully compliant with state and federal eviction bans.
Jared Kushner said he gave up managing Kushner Cos. when his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, made him a senior White House adviser. But he maintained his ownership in the company. He earned $1.69 million from his stake in Westminster last year, according to his financial filings.
Westminster is currently fighting a lawsuit by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, which accuses the company of violations concerning tacked-on fees and poor housing conditions.
We allege this company cheated tenants before, during and after their tenancy, violating the Consumer Protection Act thousands of times. https://t.co/6anZeddYgm
— Brian Frosh (@BrianFrosh) October 23, 2019
Kushner properties in the area at the time had racked up hundreds of building code violations. An earlier lawsuit described one Kushner apartment as having a leaking bedroom ceiling, maggots in the living room carpet and raw sewage spewing form the kitchen sink.
Jared Kushner-Owned Company Fined As Negligent Property Owner In Baltimore County https://t.co/XSZqxPzcyG
— Baltimore County (@BaltCoGov) November 2, 2017
As for the suit filed by Frosh, Kushner Cos. managers have denied the charges, and claim the court action is politically motivated.
Kushner last month dismissively blamed Black Americans for their hardships, saying that they must “want to be successful.”
Jared Kushner on the Black community: "President Trump's policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they're complaining about, but he can't want them to be successful more than that they want to be successful." pic.twitter.com/SX9vWiAfag
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 26, 2020
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.