President Trump’s tweets on Saturday denigrating Baltimore as a ‘rodent infested mess’ where ‘no human’ would want to live has reignited interest in the conditions of homes owned by ‘slumlord’ Jared Kushner.
Trump was blasted as a racist for his tweets criticizing House Rep. Elijah Cummings, who represents Maryland’s seventh congressional district.
The district encompasses half of the city of Baltimore as well as surrounding suburbs.
The president’s tweets about ‘rodent infestation’ shined a fresh spotlight on Kushner.
President Trump’s (left) comments about Baltimore being ‘infested with rodents’ prompted some to note that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner (right), owns properties in Maryland which tenants say are crawling with mice and maggots
In the fall of 2017, Maryland’s attorney general announced that he was investigating Kushner following claims by tenants that its properties have been left to fall into disrepair and that the firm uses aggressive debt collection practices against vulnerable residents. The image above shows the Cove Village apartment complex in Baltimore County owned by Kushner
Officials in Baltimore County say Kushner-owned companies have been fined numerous times for code violations. One of the Kushner-owned complexes in Maryland, Carroll Park, is seen above
The image above shows Highland Village, another low-income residential complex in Maryland owned by Kushner
In response to Trump’s tweets, Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr called it ‘an attack on basic decency.’
‘It is certainly ironic that the president’s own son-in-law was complicit in contributing to some of the neglect that the president purports to be so concerned about,’ Olszewski, a Democrat, told The Washington Post.
Kushner, a senior White House adviser and the president’s son-in-law, is also the owner of thousands of rental units in and around Baltimore County, Maryland.
After Trump’s election, reports surfaced indicating that tenants who rented apartments owned by Kushner complained of mouse infestations, mold problems, and maggots.
In the fall of 2017, Maryland’s attorney general announced that he was investigating the property management company run by Kushner’s family.
The investigation was announced following claims by tenants that its properties have been left to fall into disrepair and that the firm uses aggressive debt collection practices against vulnerable residents.
Attorney General Brian Frosh launched a probe into JK2 Westminster LLC properties, a subsidiary of Kushner Companies, which was owned by Jared until he quit to take a role in the White House in January of 2017.
However, he still retained an estimated $600 million stake in Kushner Companies, which is now run by his family.
The investigations was announced after numerous Baltimore residents blasted conditions at the properties earlier in 2017.
In one stomach-churning story, Jasmine Cox of the Cove Village complex complained of maggots emerging from her carpet and raw sewage flowing out of her kitchen sink.
‘It sounded like someone turned a pool upside down,’ Cox told ProPublica. ‘I got out of bed and the sink is black and gray, it’s pooling out of the sink and the house smells terrible.’
When she moved out, the company invoiced her $600 for a new carpet and other repairs.
Mike McHargue, a private investigator who lives at a Carroll Park complex with his girlfriend, told ProPublica that JK’ were ‘nothing but slumlords.’
‘They take everyone’s money,’ he added.
When told that Kushner’s name was behind the company, he responded: ‘Oh, really? Oh, really. And I’m a Trump supporter.’
Alishia Jamesson, 30, who pays $842 per month to live in the Highland Village complex with her fiancee and two children, had a litany of problems. Among them were a gap in the bathroom skylight that let in rain and snow; black mold around the bathtub and three holes in the wall of her living room.
She paid $150 to have the holes fixed in October and is still waiting, she said: ‘Every time I ask about drywall they say, ‘Oh, well, we only have one drywall person.”
Elsewhere in Highland Village, the walls of a unit that had burned down months ago were still left standing, covered in tarp.
Marquita Parmely, a truck driver who lives in Essex Park, said that her daughter, 12, had woken up to find a mouse in her bed: One of many from a nasty infestation.
Parmely has to vacuum twice a day to clean up the droppings, as they trigger her two-year-old’s asthma.
Meanwhile, the company was criticized for their aggressive debt collection tactics against some of its most vulnerable tenants.
Trump said Cummings was a ‘bully’ to Customs and Border Patrol agents and claimed the situations at border facilities are better than in Baltimore, which Cummings represents in Congress
He claimed Baltimore is ‘disgusting’ and ‘rat and rodent infested.’ He also said no ‘human being’ would want to live there, which prompted many to say the tweets were racially motivated
One such individual was cancer patient Joan Beverly who signed a lease for her daughter, Lennettea, for a unit at the Dutch Village complex in 2009. Leannettea moved out a year later, several months before her lease was to finish – and more than two years before Kushner Companies bought up the property.
In December 2012, JK2 Westminster Beverly filed a suit against Beverly, seeking $3,810.16 in missed rent and around $1,000 in repairs.
Kushner Companies said it is complying with Frosh’s investigation.
‘We have been working with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office to provide information in response to its request,’ the company told The Hill in a statement, adding, ‘We are in compliance with all state and local laws.’
Kushner Companies said it follows industry standards for maintenance staffing and exterminator visits.
It said $10 million had been invested in upgrades across the complexes, but that ‘Despite those improvements, issues still arise, given the age of the properties.’