UPDATED August 27, 7:38 p.m.: The New York City Department of Buildings fined Kushner Companies $210,000 on Monday for falsifying dozens of permit applications at 17 buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The New York Times first reported the DOB levied the fines for 42 instances in which Kushner made misrepresentations about the existence of rent-stabilized tenants at buildings, thereby potentially avoiding regulations intended to protect tenants from abuse during periods of construction. The company will have a chance to contest the violations before an administrative judge.
In March, the Associated Press reported on these permits, which then sparked an investigation by DOB and New York City Council. In a May interview with The Real Deal, Charlie Kushner described the DOB investigation as “over.”
“They’ve investigated it. They said, done, it’s over,” Kushner said. The DOB at that time, however, told TRD they were still looking into the issue.
“Protecting tenants is a key part of our mission to make construction safe for all New Yorkers, and we are determined to hold landlords accountable for the accuracy of their applications – no matter who they are,” a DOB spokesperson said in a statement to TRD on Monday.
The spokesperson also confirmed that the falsifications were a matter of not disclosing the existence of rent-stabilized tenants in 17 buildings, which include 331-335 East 9th Street, 211 Avenue A, 89 Hicks Street and 144 Willow Street.
Kushner Companies sent a statement to TRD blaming the misfiled paperwork on a third party. “No fines were assessed against the company today,” the statement reads. “There were some violations issued for paperwork errors of the same type identified back in March and as we noted then, the company relied on third party consultants for the preparation of these forms and if in error they have been corrected or will be. In no case did the company act in disregard of the safety of our tenants. We look forward to presenting the facts before an administrative law judge and until then no amount is due.”
Meanwhile, Kushner Companies faces a handful of active lawsuits alleging either rent overcharges or harassment at New York City buildings. In July, 19 tenants sued Kushner for harassment that allegedly occurred during interior construction at the company’s 184 Kent Avenue condominium conversion.