Brooklyn Heights

Kushner firm pays Brooklyn Heights tenants $100,000 in back rent overcharges

December 6, 2018 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
AP photo

Kushner Cos., the well-known real estate firm owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, has paid approximately $100,000 in back rent overcharges after a class-action lawsuit by five Brooklyn Heights tenants.

The payouts “appear to be admission that the landlord … skirted rent regulation laws” in raising rents at 89 Hicks St., according to Crain’s.

Deborah Riegel, an attorney who is representing Kushner in the case, said that her client voluntarily made refunds to the tenants and also re-registered the units as rent-regulated.

However, Lucas Ferrara, an attorney for the tenants, told Crain’s that Kushner likely knowingly deregulated the units to collect higher rents and “took a gamble that no one would notice what they were doing.”

Kushner purchased 89 Hicks St. in 2014 from Brooklyn Law School, which had used it for student housing, then converted it to market-rate apartments, Crain’s said. But later that year, Housing Rights Initiative, a nonprofit organization, discovered that the building had been rent-regulated before the law school bought it and that state law required it to be regulated again.