Jared Kushner's Company Should 'Look in the Mirror' About Rodent-Infested Apartments, Maryland AG Says After Filing Lawsuit

Maryland's attorney general, after suing an apartment management company owned by President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and receiving backlash, denied the legal action is political.

"Their argument is that this is all political and I think all you have to do is read the statement of charges. We're not talking politics here," Attorney General Brian Frosh told Newsweek on Wednesday. "The living conditions—these apartments were not habitable."

Earlier on Wednesday, Frosh filed a statement of charges against Westminster Management, which is owned by Kushner Companies, and 25 other entities alleging they mismanaged apartments to conditions "so severe" there were rodents dying in kitchen appliances and inside walls, and insects infiltrating appliances and crawling in food.

Consumers also reported seeing snakes, centipedes and spiders.

"Respondents have either ignored these problems or have taken inadequate steps to exterminate and trap these pests and repair the rental premises to prevent their further infiltration," the report states. "In many instances, unable to overcome these infestations, consumers have been forced to either vacate their rental premises or continue to live under undesirable conditions."

Residents also said numerous leaks from pipes, appliances, windows and roofs wreaked havoc and caused water damage, or for ceilings and walls to buckle. They also reported mold growing on walls and ceilings as a result of leaks and water damage, with some stating that the solution from maintenance was to simply paint over the evidence. In many cases, the complaint says, the issues were only given a minor repair and in some instances were never repaired.

Kushner President Laurent Morali in a statement obtained by The Baltimore Sun and Newsweek said: "We refuse to be extorted by an ambitious Attorney General who clearly cares more about scoring political points than fighting real crime and improving the lives of the people of Maryland. We look forward to defending ourselves against these bogus allegations."

Frosh said he saw the statement "saying I'm an ambitious attorney general" and that "I care more about blah blah blah," but pointed to the rodents, vermin, leaks and other conditions in the apartments that are not typical.

"They should look in the mirror and see if they can explain the conduct we set out in the complaint," Frosh said.

We allege this company cheated tenants before, during and after their tenancy, violating the Consumer Protection Act thousands of times. https://t.co/6anZeddYgm

— Brian Frosh (@BrianFrosh) October 23, 2019

According to the statement of charges, the management companies, including the one owned by Kushner, were "unfair or deceptive" in charging tenants sham "agent" and other fees and "victimized consumers" or renters in Maryland who in many cases are financially vulnerable. According to the suit, the number of violations is in the hundreds of thousands.

The companies named in the complaint oversee 17 rental buildings. While it is unclear how many of the buildings named in the lawsuit are owned by Kushner Companies and/or managed by Westminster Management, The Sun reported that the companies operate roughly 9,000 units in Baltimore, Baltimore County and Prince George's County.

Frosh said he's certain Kushner's company is involved in the suit because Kushner's "people have blasted me for this case." He added he has been "trying to get information from them, trying to get documents from them."

Frosh added there have been tenant complaints and a class action lawsuit has been filed against Westminster Management, but this is the first legal action his office has taken in the five years he has been Maryland's attorney general.

Jared Kushner Maryland Lawsuit
Jared Kushner, senior advisor to his father-in-law President Donald Trump, makes a presentation about immigration during a cabinet meeting at the White House July 16, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Kushner's company owns an apartment management company in Maryland that was sued by the state's attorney general alleging conditions that are "not habitable" for tenants. Chip Somodevilla/Getty