Sen. Gianaris Calls on Department of Buildings To Issue Stop-Work Order on Kushner Projects Pending Investigation

Kushner Cos. Allegedly Filed Fraudulent Documents With City’s Department of Buildings In Effort to Skirt Tenant Protections

ASTORIA, N.Y. – Senator Michael Gianaris called on the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) to issue an immediate stop work order on all Kushner Companies properties until an investigation into their business practices is concluded. An investigation by the Housing Rights Initiative reported by the Associated Press revealed that the Kushner Companies had allegedly filed false paperwork with the DOB in an effort to skirt rent regulations. Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior advisor to President Donald Trump, led the Kushner Companies at the time.

“Bad actors should not benefit at the expense of their tenants when they flout rules designed to protect residents,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “I urge DOB to immediately stop any construction taking place on Kushner Companies projects until officials get to the bottom of these serious allegations.”  

Senator Gianaris sent a letter outlining his request to the DOB Commissioner, who yesterday announced an investigation into Kushner Companies’ practices. The letter appears below.  

March 22, 2018

 

Rick Chandler, P.E.

Commissioner, New York City Department of Buildings

280 Broadway

New York, New York 10007

Dear Commissioner Chandler:

I write in response to serious allegations raised in recent reporting by the Associated Press and an investigation by the Housing Rights Initiative. The Kushner Companies allegedly filed false paperwork with your department in an effort to turn a quick profit by forcing out tenants in rent regulated apartments, including several in my district in Astoria, Queens. If true, this reprehensible behavior must be halted immediately. 

I appreciate your department’s expeditious  investigation into this matter, and ask you to take more urgent action. While you conduct your investigation, the Kushner Companies should not be permitted to continue working on existing projects. I urge the Department of Buildings to issue an immediate stop work order on all current Kushner Companies projects until the conclusion of this investigation. Bad actors should not be allowed to benefit when they clearly flout rules meant to level the playing field for our community by protecting tenants.

This is a serious investigation, the outcome of which will affect thousands of New Yorkers. The Department of Buildings needs to send a message to the Kushner Companies and all other developers who seek to violate the public trust that allegations such as these will be taken seriously and damages will be assessed anytime there are violations. Issuing an immediate stop work order will send the message that this behavior will not be tolerated in New York.

Sincerely,

 

Michael Gianaris

New York State Senate