Kushner Family’s Apartment Management Firm Is Sued Over FeesBy and
Company accused of using unpaid charges to seek eviction
Class action filed against firm once led by Trump son-in-law
A rental apartment management firm run by presidential adviser Jared Kushner’s family has been sued by two Baltimore tenants claiming it’s charging illegal fees on top of the monthly rent, then threatening to evict them if they don’t pay.
Their lawsuit against Westminster Management LLC was filed Wednesday morning at a Baltimore city court. Kushner, who is the president’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, isn’t a named defendant in the proposed class action. Westminster Management is a unit of the Kushner Cos., a family-run New York-based business that owns, manages and develops properties nationwide.
Before joining the administration, Jared Kushner was chief executive officer of the Kushner Cos. Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, divested his interest in his family’s business when he joined the administration. He has been a central figure in the ongoing probes of whether the president’s election campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the outcome of last year’s election.
"Westminster charges each tenant who it claims paid rent late a 5% late fee as well as an ‘agent fee’ and ‘court fee’ before the court has even heard the eviction action," according to a statement issued by the attorneys who filed the suit, on behalf of tenants Tenae Smith and Howard Smith. “Contrary to Maryland law, Westminster claims that these fees are ‘rent’ and thus collectible under threat of eviction.”
Evictions are sought even when the rent itself is fully paid if the allegedly improper assessments are not, according to the statement. The Smiths aren’t related.
“We have been in compliance with Maryland’s laws and regulations and intend to vigorously defend ourselves against these allegations,” according to a spokesman for Kushner Cos.
Claiming violations of Maryland consumer protection laws and breach of contract, the Smiths seek to represent all tenants subjected to the illegal practices over the past three years, a court order barring the improper practices and money damages.
The case is Smith v. Westminster Management LLC, Baltimore City Circuit Court, Baltimore, Maryland (Baltimore).