Charlie Kushner gets presidential pardon

Landlord and head of Kushner Cos. served prison time on charges including retaliating against a witness

Charles Kushner (Getty)
Charles Kushner (Getty)

Charles Kushner, the Kushner Companies boss who spent over a year in prison on charges including falsifying tax returns, making illegal campaign donations and retaliating against a witness, received a pardon from President Donald Trump Wednesday, the White House announced.

The pardon has significant implications for Kushner Companies, as it may make it easier for the landlord to secure financing for its projects. Kushner’s conviction had been a complicating factor in the company’s ability to get loans, according to David Enrich, a New York Times journalist who authored a book about one of the firm’s biggest lenders, Deutsche Bank.

Kushner did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In 2004, Kushner, who is the father of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, pled guilty to 16 counts of tax evasion, one count of lying to the Federal Election Commission and one count of retaliating against a witness. In his plea agreement, Kushner admitted to hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, arranging to videotape the liaison and send the tape to his sister.

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Kushner spent 14 months in federal prison in Alabama before serving out the remainder of his sentence in a halfway house in New Jersey, and was released in March 2006. In an interview with The Real Deal the following year, he addressed the incident. “I believe that God and my parents in heaven forgive me for what I did, which was wrong,” he said. “I don’t believe God and my parents will ever forgive my brother and sister for instigating a criminal investigation and being cheerleaders for the government.”

According to its website, Kushner Cos. owns 17,000 apartments in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Tennessee. The Kushner family controls another 2,100 units in the East Village, Greenwich Village, Soho, the West Village, Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg, as well as Northern Liberties, in Philadelphia. The firm’s president Laurent Morali told TRD last month that the company is interested in expanding its presence in New York City, and is also looking to acquire more apartments in suburban areas seeing a pandemic-induced surge of interest from investors and renters.

Others on the list of the 26 pardons issued by Trump Wednesday were Roger Stone, a longtime informal adviser to the president, and Paul Manafort, his 2016 campaign chairman.

In 2017, President Barack Obama pardoned nightlife impresario and hotel developer Ian Schrager, who was sentenced to prison for tax fraud in 1980.

Georgia Kromrei and Rich Bockmann contributed reporting.