If President Trump was really concerned about the condition of Baltimore neighborhoods instead of tweeting about it, he could have walked from the Oval Office into his son-in-law’s makeshift suite inside the White House and told him to fix it.
That’s because Jared Kushner and Kushner’s family business, the New York-based Kushner Companies, owns thousands of apartments in and around Baltimore and the Associated Press notes that many of them are trash.
From the AP:
[S]ome have been criticized for the same kind of disrepair and neglect that the president has accused local leaders of failing to address. Residents have complained about mold, bedbugs, leaks and, yes, mice—plenty of mice. And they say management appears in no hurry to fix the problems.
Dezmond James, who lives in the Kushner-owned Commons at White Marsh told the AP that if Trump was really trying to fix a problem, he could talk with Kushner instead of using the city to call out Rep. Elijah Cummings.
“His son-in-law owns all of this—then he can fix it. I’m pretty sure he has a lot of money,” says James, who is studying to be a medical assistant. “That’s kind of weird that you want to talk trash…If you want to make improvements, you can make improvements.”
When Donald Trump tweeted last weekend that Baltimore is “a disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess,” many prominent Baltimoreans were pissed. Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young, a Democrat, called Trump’s comments “completely unacceptable,” and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said Trump’s statements were “outrageous and inappropriate,” The Intelligencer reports.
The Intelligencer also notes that the AP’s reporting lines up with previous stories about the conditions and lack of concern that the Kushner Companies have over their properties. In 2017, the New York Times Magazine and ProPublica co-published an investigative piece titled “The Beleaguered Tenants of ‘Kushnerville’,” and found that many of the Kushner-owned apartments suffered not only bad stewardship but health concerns as one tenant had “mold and mildew beneath the carpet” and another had raw sewage flowing out of their sink.
While the Kushner Companies seem to be unconcerned with fixing the problems its buildings have, the firm reportedly has no issues using “aggressive debt-collection tactics,” to collect on its $90 million in revenue annually in Baltimore, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Shannon Darrow, a local fair-housing activist, told the Washington Post that the Kushner Companies don’t care about rat infestation in these neighborhoods.
“Basically, [Kushner] has been creating a race to the bottom in terms of poorly maintained properties,” she said. “He’s been very, very deeply implicated.”