The property management subsidiary of Jared Kushner’s family real estate business has agreed to fork over $3.25 million to the state of Maryland to settle a lawsuit alleging the company has “victimized” financially vulnerable tenets “at all stages of offering and leasing,” ProPublica reported on Friday.
“This is a case in which landlords deceived and cheated tenants and subjected them to miserable living conditions,” state Attorney General Brian Frosh said at a press conference announcing the settlement with Westminster Management, according to ProPublica. “These were not wealthy people. Many struggled to pay the rent, to put food on the table, to take care of their kids, to keep everybody healthy, and Westminster used its vastly superior economic power to take advantage of them.”
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The lawsuit, which was brought by the state in 2019, detailed horrific treatment of tenants in several suburban Baltimore complexes owned by Kushner’s company, including aggressively trying to bilk tenants out of money they didn’t owe, and failing to maintain rental complexes to the point that they became ridden with mold, infested with rodents, and otherwise damaged. Frosh noted on Friday that the company was aware of these issues.
Westminster Management has in the past alleged the lawsuit was a political ploy by a Democratic attorney general to besmirch the son-in-law of President Donald Trump. The company said in a statement to the Baltimore Banner on Friday that it was “pleased to have settled this litigation with no admission of liability or wrongdoing.” Frosh was skeptical. “You don’t pay $3.25 million bucks if you’re not liable,” he told the outlet. “So they may not have formally signed a piece of paper saying ‘We did it,’ but they did it.”
The company could wind up paying more than $3.25 million, as they’ve also been ordered to contact the potentially tens of thousands of affected tenants and let them know they may be entitled to reimbursement for unnecessary fees the company charged them over the past decade.
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