Happy to announce our latest class-action lawsuit against Kushner for filing dozens of fraudulent documents w/ NYC + illegally collecting millions of dollars from tenants. This is the 5th lawsuit stemming from our 3 yr investigation into Kushner

(Thread)

cnn.com/2020/09/15/pol…
In 2013, Kushner Companies purchased four buildings at 329-335 East 9th Street. In each of these buildings, Kushner Companies added a floor and built penthouses to maximize their rental profits.

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Kushner Companies needed to obtain a certificate of occupancy (CO) for each of its 4 buildings that would allow it to perform construction work and, most consequently, collect rent from tenants in the buildings. A CO confirms that a building is safe for human occupancy.

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Kushner Companies would *not* be allowed to collect rent without this vital document.

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In order for a landlord to obtain this certificate and, thus, collect rent from its tenants, as per Title 28, Section 118.16.1 of the NYC Administrative Code, it is required to have an operable sprinkler system in place.

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Kushner companies submitted over 40 applications for temporary certificates of occupancy (“TCO”) over a 5 year period, claiming that it had working sprinkler systems.

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But this was a lie.

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According to an independent inspection by a NYS licensed architect, a “fire safety system is not in place.”

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Ironically, Kushner Companies itself told tenants in the Fire Safety Guide provided with their lease renewals that there are no operable sprinklers.

Kushner Companies was telling the government one thing and telling the tenants something else.

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Incredulously, @NYC_Buildings hit Kushner w/ a violation for not having a requisite sprinkler system (see below)

However, despite the Department of Buildings knowing that Kushner didn’t have a fire safety system in place, it continued to renew Kushner’s fraudulent paperwork

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This is a fraudulent scheme performed and perpetrated by Kushner Companies, but aided and abetted by the City of New York. The damage that Kushner Companies has done to New York City pales in the face of the damage done by the Department of Buildings.

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Kushner committed fraud and illegally collected millions of dollars in rent based on false filings. This lawsuit asks the courts to prohibit Kushner collecting any further rent until it resolves all outstanding building violations + obtains a proper certificate of occupancy

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To recap, our 3-year investigation into Kushner has uncovered a systematic pattern to illegal and fraudulent real estate practices.

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First, we found that Kushner Companies was illegally overcharging rent-stabilized tenants. (In response to this lawsuit, Kushner Companies provided *partial* rent refunds to its tenants -- the case is still ongoing)

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nytimes.com/2017/08/15/bus…
Then we uncovered the same thing in a different building.

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villagevoice.com/2017/11/15/jar…
Then we uncovered that Kushner Companies was systematically falsifying permit applications.

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apnews.com/002703e7034748…
For which he was hit with a federal subpoena

wsj.com/articles/kushn…

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Then we uncovered that Kushner Companies performed illegal construction and exposed families and their children to lead, lung carcinogens, and crystalline silica.

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apnews.com/00b4e72ad95d45…
Our investigation of Kushner Companies’ fraudulent business practices was showcased in an episode of Netflix’s Dirty Money Series directed by @morganpehme and @dandoesdocs titled “Slumlord Millionaire.”

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netflix.com/title/80118100…
So all of this raises an important question: Where is Governor Cuomo? Where is Mayor de Blasio? And where is our government?

If they are not going to crack down on a landlord like Kushner Companies, then what does that say about our housing enforcement system in general?

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Our watchdog group’s budget is .0003% of New York City’s budget. There’s only so many times we can sound the alarm about landlords like Kushner Companies. We are calling on the government to put us out of business.

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If you want to support Housing Rights Initiative’s efforts, you can make a tax-deductible contribution here: housingrightsny.org

Thanks for reading!

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Huge shout out to our team @yovancollado, @msuthnyc, and Kate Liggett for their invaluable support with this investigation.

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And a big thanks to @KaraScannell for covering this story!

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Kushner Companies’ general counsel responded.

And he’s right: the Department of Buildings did certify the properties.

The problem is, it was certified based on false information... which is the whole point of the lawsuit.

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