Maryland AG Sues Kushner-Owned Firm For 'Hazardous' Apartment Conditions
The Kushner family's property management firm is in legal jeopardy over the conditions of 17 residential communities it manages throughout Maryland.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced Wednesday that the Consumer Protection Division filed charges against Westminster Management LLC, a management company registered to Kushner Cos.' New Jersey office.
The lawsuit focuses on the building conditions and rental practices it employed across its 17-property, 9,000-unit portfolio in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Prince George's County. The lawsuit names Westminster and 25 separate entities that own the properties as the respondents.
The announcement describes the condition of the properties as "hazardous," including vermin infestations, mold and water leaks. It also says Westminster misrepresented the quality of the units and the level of maintenance it provides.
In addition to failing to maintain the conditions of the properties, the lawsuit says Westminster employed a series of illegal rental practices. It said the firm charged more than the legal limit of $25 for application fees, charged illegal eviction fees and withheld money from security deposits that should have been returned to renters.
"We allege that the property owners and their property management company violated numerous consumer protection laws, which harmed thousands of Maryland consumers,” Frosh said in a release. "We’re charging that Westminster and the rental property owners in this case took advantage of consumers, primarily low- and middle-income families, collecting fees and other unlawful costs from them and often failing to make the repairs needed to maintain suitable environments for their tenants."
Kushner President Laurent Morali pushed back on that in a statement to Bisnow.
“We refuse to be extorted by an ambitious attorney general who clearly cares more about scoring political points than fighting real crime and improving the lives of the people of Maryland," she said. "We look forward to defending ourselves against these bogus allegations.”