Trump Son-in-Law Jared Kushner’s ‘Volunteer Event’ a Sham, Tenants Argue

Posted on: November 18th, 2016 at 5:16 am by

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Photo: Heavy Editorial

Donald Trump’s son-in-law (and local landlord) Jared Kushner has been in the news quite a bit since the election. The media mogul – married to Ivanka Trump – is seemingly portrayed as a sort of Wormtongue in the ear of the president-elect.

And back at home, Kushner’s reception is still in the dumps. For good cause. He’s a bad actor (via Westminster City Living) through and through. As one of the largest stakeholders in the East Village, tenants are routinely subjected to harassment – no cooking gas, vermin, collapsed ceilings, deprivation of heat, etc.

Last night, Westminster held a so-called “volunteer event” with the purpose of “serving your community while getting to know your Westminster neighbors.” It was co-sponsored by the Educational Alliance. Yet a coalition of Kushner residents allege this was little more than an attempt to repair his image.

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From the mailbag:

Tenants believe Kushner’s New York City real estate company, Westminster City Living, is hosting a “Westminster Cares” event under the guise of repairing Kushner and Westminster’s image.   Westminster City Living notified tenants about the event a week before Election Day with this flyer below.

Under Westminster City Living’s ownership both rent regulated and market rate tenants have had grievances.  Tenants of 118 East 4th Street in the East Village took Kushner to Housing Court earlier this year calling for the immediate restoration of essential services and for living conditions to be rectified. The tenants there endured bouts of no heat during some of the coldest spells of winter, mounting trash, and had been without cooking gas for over five months.

Tenants at 170-174 East 2nd Street endured even worse while Westminster attempted to renovate their building. Throughout 2014, tenants at 170-174 East 2nd Street had gas outages, collapsed ceilings, hallways strewn with dust and debris, and numerous lawsuits brought against them (some of whom were seniors and 40+ year members of the community). These buildings represent just a few of the scenarios that tenants have faced under Kushner’s ownership.

So after the experience they’ve had living under Westminster City Living’s ownership, tenants are left asking: Does Kushner and Westminster care? And if so, who is it that they care about?

“The Westminster Cares party michigas is hilarious. Westminster City Living didn’t seem to care when we had no heat on the coldest day of last year or when there were mountains of trash and rodent carcasses!” said Jennifer Hengen, a tenant for over 25 years at 118 E 4th Street. “After we reached a legal settlement with Westminster City Living, earlier this year, they did move quickly to rectify dangerous situations. For the moment, we no longer have mountains of trash and are able to enjoy basic amenities like gas, heat and hot water. Unfortunately, no one seems to stay a Westminster City Living employee for long. That results in a lot of confusion and chaos over rent money, bureaucracy and work orders. I don’t even know who my super is.”

“Over the years we’ve seen nothing from Westminster that makes us think they care about anything more than making sure they provide the absolute minimum amount of services (sometimes less) and keeping their buildings full of high-rent paying tenants,” said Brandon Kielbasa, Director of Organizing and Policy at the Cooper Square Committee (CSC). “Every week we (CSC) have Kushner tenants calling our office to get issues resolved. The problems they face range from not getting security deposits back, not getting lease renewals, having chronic mixups with their rent payments, and having difficulties getting repairs. If Westminster really cares, they need to get better at managing their properties.”

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