Real estate investor Alex Adjmi receives presidential pardon

From Syrian retail community, he went to prison in 1996 for money laundering for Colombian cartel

Donald Trump and Alex Adjmi (Photos via Getty; GOSO NYC)
Donald Trump and Alex Adjmi (Photos via Getty; GOSO NYC)

Alex Adjmi, a mainstay of the Syrian Jewish community that dominates the Manhattan retail market, received a presidential pardon, the White House announced early Wednesday. Adjmi was convicted of money laundering for a Colombian drug cartel in 1996 and served 44 months in prison.

Adjmi is the head of A&H Acquisitions, a major but under-the-radar real estate player across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago and Los Angeles. A&H has or previously had stakes in properties including 529 and 568 Broadway in Soho, 213 West 34th Street in Midtown, 21 Ninth Avenue in the Meatpacking District, and 9570 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. It often partners with other big investors from the community on these deals, including Jeff Sutton, Aurora Capital Associates, and Crown Acquisitions, whose founder, Stanley Chera, was a prominent backer of President Trump.

Adjmi’s petition was supported by influential members of the community, including Haim Chera, son of Stanley Chera and head of retail at Vornado Realty Trust; Bobby Cayre, head of Aurora Capital, and members of the Sitt family, according to the announcement from the White House.

Adjmi was a target of a federal sting operation in which he allegedly helped wash $22.5 million for the Cali cocaine cartel through a Connecticut brokerage that was in fact an undercover operation run by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency, according to the Asbury Park Press. He was arrested in 1993 and pleaded guilty to five felonies. He went to prison in 1996 and was released in October 2000 after serving 44 months.

“Following his release, he [Adjmi] has dedicated himself to his community and has supported numerous charitable causes, including support for children with special needs and substance recovery centers,” the White House said. In 2017, Alex and his brother and partner, Harry, were honored by Getting Out Staying Out, an organization that helps formerly incarcerated people find a path to the job market. A&H offered former inmates paid internships in its construction division.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Reached Wednesday, Adjmi only said that he was “humbled and grateful to have received this pardon.”

The Adjmi family has several homes in the wealthy New Jersey seaside enclave of Deal, though Alex’s personal property is in nearby Allenhurst.

Trump has bestowed a number of pardons and commutations on real estate and business executives and associates in his final days in office. In December, the president pardoned Kushner Companies’ founder Charles Kushner, who served 14 months in federal prison on crimes including illegal campaign donations and witness tampering.

And on Wednesday, Trump also pardoned Ken Kurson, former editor-in-chief of the New York Observer. Kurson was arrested in October on charges of cyberstalking. The Observer, which includes the popular real-estate supplement Commercial Observer, was bought by Jared Kushner in 2006 and is now controlled by his brother-in-law, Joseph Meyer.

Trump can still issue more pardons until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in today, at noon Eastern.

This story was updated to include a comment from Alex Adjmi.