The president has made himself out to be some kind of grand businessman, but in reality he’s anything but that. He presides over a business empire, which he inherited from his father, that has been marked by fraud and lawsuits, and he has surrounded himself with people who are like him in that regard, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Now, in line with the numerous lawsuits his father-in-law has faced over failing to pay those who have provided him with some sort of service, Kushner’s own family real estate company is facing a lawsuit from a law firm that says that they are owed large sums of cash.
The Cornicello, Tendler & Baumel-Cornicello law firm represented the Kushner family real estate company in nearly three dozen cases against current or former tenants a couple of years ago. On December 7, the firm filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against Kushner Cos. and 19 of its subsidiaries that manage properties on behalf of the parent company.
The firm alleges that it is owed more than $100,000.
The firm represented the Kushner family company in cases that the New York Daily News reports mostly involved apartments in the New York City area.
A spokesperson for the Kushner family real estate company stated simply that they are “working to resolve this matter” when pressed for comment.
Kushner’s family real estate company has, ironically, attracted legal attention for their overly aggressive debt collection practices. Back in October, it was reported that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh was looking into the organization after poor living conditions and aggressive debt collection practices were exposed.
Although Kushner abandoned executive control of his family company upon assuming his position as an unpaid adviser in his father-in-law’s administration, he still retains an ownership stake in it, in a set up similar to that employed by his father-in-law.
Although precedent demands that the president completely detach themselves from their private business interests upon taking office, Trump declined to do so, instead simply handing off executive control of the Trump Organization to his two adult sons, while maintaining his financial stake in the enterprise.
Trump doing so has opened up his administration to the possibility that his decisions will be tied to some sort of financial consideration. Further adding to the possibility that there is some kind of not yet explored conflict of interest operating in the Trump Administration, the president hasn’t even ever released his tax returns, although essentially every other modern major presidential candidate has done so and he has no legitimate reason not to.
Brandon Kielbasa, director of organizing for the affordable housing advocacy group known as the Cooper Square Committee, said that he “wasn’t surprised” that the law firm didn’t get paid. (Kielbasa has assisted tenants in cases in which the firm suing the Kushner family real estate company was on the other side.)
As he put it:
‘I feel like profit is the priority here. Parting ways with money seems like a very difficult thing for them.’
That description might as well apply to the entire Trump Administration, which just this week hopes to see a rich-favoring tax reform bill pass Congress.