White House aide Jared Kushner is now being taken to task by progressive publication Mother Jones among others. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law reportedly has been putting the screws to suffering New Yorkers.
According to reporting from Mother Jones, verified by the Prospect, Westminster Management, a subsidiary of Kushner Companies that is responsible for more than 20,000 apartments across six states, has spent the past handful of days sending residents in New York City’s East Village neighborhood new notices about rent collection. The flyer, which featured no mention of the rapidly evolving coronavirus crisis, encourages them to use a new online platform to pay their impending rent check, rather than delivering payments in person. That new portal accepts e-check or money order, as well as credit or debit card payments, for a fee.
The American Prospect told:
Because of an executive order from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, all tenants, both residential and commercial, are protected under a state eviction moratorium that is in effect until at least June 20. Meanwhile, New York Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks announced a suspension on court eviction proceedings, which, despite some early confusion, means that no new eviction cases are being brought before the courts until at least late April.
That meaning Kushner Companies has no grounds or recourse to evict its tenants, whether or not they pay rent on April 1. Instead, the company is using repeated notices (tenants were sent multiple alerts over the past few days) in an attempt to badger low-information renters, those unaware of the state’s ban on evictions, into paying them in full.
…even if a landlord did try to initiate an eviction by filing a new case in late April when courts re-open, tenants cannot be evicted with the moratorium in place until at least June 20.
Director of organizing and policy at Cooper Square Committee Brandon Kielbasa claimed, “There has been no forbearance mentioned to them.” As the tenants’ rights advocate argued, “Many are concerned about how they will afford their rent.”
And Mother Jones reported that:
On March 21, the company sent an email to residents. While it acknowledged the global pandemic saying the company hoped “you all stay safe and healthy in these challenging times,” it went on telling tenants to sign up for the new payment platform “asap.” Despite the request for prompt action on payment, the email told residents the management company was running on limited resources and that, due to the need to prevent contact between staff and residents, rent-payers could expect fewer services and directed that anything beside emergency maintenance requests should wait “until the situation has improved.”
Kushner and co. ended, “Please all be safe and healthy. We will get through this, it is all just a matter of time.” That really means a lot.