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Jared Kushner’s NYC Buildings Could Pose a Conflict

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Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner owns at least 45 properties in New York City, with 1,947,832 feet of residential and commercial space. His disclosed mortgages on the properties add up to more than $3.2 billion. Kushner is also a member of the executive committee of the president-elect’s transition team.

“I am concerned about anyone who is in the real estate business, heavily indebted to banks, giving advice to the president on financial services regulation because we’ve seen too many of these bubbles in the real estate market,” said professor Richard Painter at the University of Minnesota Law School.

While Kushner serves on the transition team, however, he is not subject to any conflict of interest laws because these positions are not considered government employees who do have to follow federal statutes.

But ethicists and other legal watchers are concerned about who is providing financing to Kushner.

For example, one of Kushner’s top lenders is Parlex, a real estate investment trust. According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission the REIT is a subsidiary of private equity giant Blackstone Group. That is the same firm whose chairman and CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, is the chair of the president-elect’s “Strategic and Policy Forum.” which, according to the company website, “will be called upon to meet with the President frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge.”

And while Kushner could not be appointed to a formal role in the Trump Administration because of anti-nepotism laws, even an informal role will be scrutinized.

“It really reeks of corruption, it makes the actions that the President takes suspect, if we know that a close adviser who’s not officially on the payroll, is doing what would be prohibited under federal law of a paid advisor,” said Vermont Law School professor Jennifer Taub.

Taub and others worry that Trump’s concern for his daughter and son-in-law could influence his decision-making in some way.

1. UBS:  $1.215 billion for loans for 666 Fifth Avenue.

2. Natixis: $698 million for funds for downtown Brooklyn properties.

3. Parlex 5 Finco LLC: $696 million in financing for properties on the Upper East Side, Kips Bay, Boerum Hill and the East Village.

4. Signature Bank: $248 million, primarily for East Village properties.

5. 184 Kent Avenue Capital LLC: $88.275 million for 184 Kent Avenue.

Source

http://www.wnyc.org/story/jared-kushners-nyc-buildings-could-pose-conflict/