NY to probe claims Kushners harassed tenants

This June 28, 2018 photo shows 184 Kent Avenue in the Brooklyn borough of New York owned by the Kushner Cos. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A New York state agency is launching an investigation into claims of tenant harassment in a Brooklyn apartment building owned by the Kushner Cos.

Posted: Jul 16, 2018 4:19 PM

NEW YORK (AP) - The latest on tenants in a Kushner Cos. building accusing the family firm of harassing them so they would leave (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

The Kushner Cos. says a lawsuit announced Monday alleging it harassed a group of Brooklyn tenants and exposed them to carcinogens during construction is "totally without merit."

A statement from the family firm once run by presidential adviser Jared Kushner says tenants were "never pressured to leave their apartments" and that it intends to fight the suit.

Separately, a tenant watchdog group behind the lawsuit held a news conference Monday laying into what it has called "predatory" tactics of Kushner Cos.

Housing Rights Initiative chief Aaron Carr says the firm engaged in a "campaign to systematically harass its residents out of their apartments using illegal, dangerous and destructive practices."

The lawsuit follows an Associated Press story on Sunday detailing what more than a dozen tenants say was intolerable living conditions.

___

1:40 p.m.

A New York state agency is launching an investigation into claims of tenant harassment in a Brooklyn apartment building owned by the Kushner Cos.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Tenant Protection Unit will investigate whether Kushner Cos. violated state housing laws and regulations meant to prevent landlords from disturbing tenants' peace and privacy.

The investigation comes after a report by The Associated Press uncovered accusations that noisy construction was used to harass tenants.

On Monday, 20 tenants and former tenants of a converted Brooklyn warehouse owned by presidential adviser Jared Kushner's family real estate firm filed suit against the Kushner Cos. for allegedly making living conditions so intolerable they would leave.

The Kushner Cos. had no immediate response, but told The Associated Press Sunday that it didn't harass any tenants.

___

12:05 p.m.

The Kushner Cos. is being sued by renters at one of its largest residential buildings in New York for allegedly using construction crews to make living conditions so intolerable they would leave, freeing up apartments to be sold as high-priced luxury condos.

Twenty tenants and former tenants of a converted Brooklyn warehouse say the family firm once run by presidential adviser Jared Kushner also exposed them to dust containing lead and the carcinogen crystalline silica. They are asking for $10 million in damages.

A news conference announcing the suit filed late Sunday in New York State Supreme Court is planned for later Monday with comments from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

The Kushner Cos. had no immediate response, but told The Associated Press earlier Sunday that it didn't harass any tenants.

___

1 a.m.

More than a dozen current and former residents of a New York apartment building owned by presidential adviser Jared Kushner's family real estate firm tell The Associated Press they believe they were targeted in a campaign to push them out of their rent-stabilized homes.

The Kushner Cos. bought the converted warehouse apartment building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and turned the units into luxury condos selling for an average $1.2 million.

Those who lived there cite all-day hammering and drilling and other problems they say were aimed at getting them to leave. They also complain of high increases in rent, dust from construction, rats crawling through holes, and workers with passkeys barging in unannounced.

Kushner Cos. tells the AP it didn't harass any tenants to get them out.

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