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Maryland announces settlement with Kushner-owned company

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Annapolis, Maryland (AP) – A property management company owned by the family of former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, agreed to pay $3.25 million in civil fines and damages to settle a 2019 lawsuit in Maryland over allegations. Attorney General Brian Frosh announced Friday that it was charging illegal renters and not maintaining the property.

Frosh announced that his office’s consumer protection division has reached a settlement with Westminster Management, LLC, a New Jersey-based company, and 25 companies that own or own 17 residential communities operated by Westminster Management in Maryland.

The settlement addresses charges that Westminster and its landlords violated Consumer Protection Act.

The attorney general said in a press release that the property in question contains more than 9,000 rental units throughout Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Prince George’s County. The attorney general’s office said the settlement would likely pay compensation to thousands of current and former residents of the communities.

The settlement, contained in the final order entered by the Consumer Protection Department, requires Westminster to return the excess application fee to consumers; Improper agent fees, application fees, and court costs charged in expedited discharge proceedings; small credit balances improperly maintained by the company; and security deposit interest that has not been paid to tenants who have been evicted.

“Tenants on the Westminster estates suffered from mold, leakage, flooding and infestations of rodents, cockroaches and bedbugs,” said Froch, a Democrat. Management hid these terms only to reveal them to the tenants after they were locked into long-term leases. Westminster knew the condition of its property, and charged the tenants an illegal fee to live in those miserable conditions. Westminster’s behavior was unreasonable.”

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Westminster does not admit wrongdoing under the settlement.

“Westminster is pleased to settle this lawsuit without admitting liability or wrongdoing,” Peter Vebo, Kushner’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “We are looking to move beyond this so we can focus on our expanding real estate portfolio.”

Kushner stepped down as CEO of the Kushner Company in 2017 when he became a senior advisor in the White House to President Donald Trump.

To address fees, the settlement provides for a claims procedure whereby current and former tenants of Westminster-operated property can file claims with a private master, who can return rent to consumers if, during their leases they encounter serious maintenance issues that have affected the use and enjoyment of their apartments, including: it seeps or floods; infestations of rodents, cockroaches or bed bugs; Or lack of electricity, water, hot water, heating or air conditioning.

The Kushner family real estate company owns thousands of apartments and homes in the Baltimore area. Some have been criticized for the same kind of neglect and neglect that Trump accused local leaders of failing to address, when he referred to Baltimore as a “rat and rodent infested mess” in 2019.

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