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Trump advisor Jared Kushner’s company ducks disclosure of investors’ identities in court case

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A real estate company owned by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner on Friday filed a court action to shield the identity of investors in that firm in connection with a pending lawsuit in Baltimore.

The move — a transfer of a lawsuit back to Baltimore Circuit Court out of federal court — could make it more likely that Kushner’s company will ultimately lose a pending lawsuit by tenants.

But the action also will keep out of the public eye the names of every person and entity that has invested in the company.

"I would say the Kushners would do anything to keep the identities of the investors secret," Andrew Freeman, a lawyer for two tenants suing Kushner’s real estate company, Westminster Management, told CNBC.

Freeman noted that there have been recent news reports about investments in Kushner’s companies by foreign interests.

In January, The New York Times reported that Kushner’s family real estate company received an investment of about $30 million from Menora Mivtachim, the large Israeli insurer, which was used to finance 10 Maryland apartment complexes controlled by the Kushner firm.

And two weeks ago, The New Yorker in an article detailed how the Kushner Cos. are seeking Chinese investors.

Kushner is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump.

In addition to Kushner, the other investors that have been identified as involved in ownership of the Baltimore properties in question are his parents, Charles and Seryl Kushner, and his brother Josh.

Freeman’s clients — Tenae Smith and Howard Smith — claim that Kushner’s company, among other things, illegally charged them late fees for rents on separate Baltimore apartments they live in.

The two plaintiffs filed suit in Baltimore Circuit Court last fall.

In response to the suit, Kushner’s company transferred the case to federal court for the District of Maryland.

As the basis for the request, the company claimed that all of the investors in the company lived out of Maryland.

Federal courts can handle cases that would otherwise be handled in local or state courts if they involve out-of-state parties.

However, under federal rules, those parties have to show proof that they live elsewhere.

Westminster Management had asked to keep that proof sealed out of public view, citing what it called unfair attention by journalists.

"Given the tenor of the media’s reporting of this case, including politically-motivated innuendo no doubt intended to disparage the First Family, there is foreseeable risk of prejudice to the privacy rights and reputations of innocent private investors," Kushner Cos.’ lawyers wrote in a filing, according to The Baltimore Sun.

But a judge last month rejected Westchester Management’s bid to shield the identities of the investors. That bid had been opposed by the tenants and a group of media companies.

"Under common law, there is a presumption that the public has access to all judicial records," wrote federal Judge James Bredar.

Bredar in his opinion noted: "The Defendants believe that because the Kushners, including the President of the United States’ son-in-law Jared Kushner, are members of Defendant LLCs, ‘the media has taken an unprecedented interest in this case’ and made ‘outrageous allegations, and assign[ed] guilt.’ Publicly releasing the citizenship of Defendant LLCs will, so the Defendants claim, only add fuel to this fire."

On Friday, two new lawyers for Kushner’s company notified Bredar that they are now representing the firm.

And the new lawyers said in court filings that they now want the case sent back to Baltimore Circuit Court, where it was first filed.

One of those lawyers, Michael Blumenfeld, declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

Chris Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Kushner Cos., said only, "Our counsel on this matter has determined that the case should be remanded to state court."

CNBC has asked the White House for comment on the case.

If the case had gone to trial in federal court, Kushner’s company might have had a better chance at winning.

The jury pool for Maryland federal court has proportionately fewer tenants — as opposed to homeowners — than does the pool that provides jurors for cases tried in Baltimore Circuit Court.

There are "more tenants in a Baltimore City jury," noted Freeman, the plaintiffs’ lawyer.

In his own filing Friday, Freeman wrote, "After expending over three months – and requiring substantial time and resources from both Plaintiffs’ counsel and the Court – Defendants have now belatedly agreed that they should never have attempted to remove this case to federal court. Plaintiffs do not oppose Defendants’notice of withdrawal."

Freeman indicated in the filing that he wants to seek attorneys’ fees that occurred because of the delay from Kushner’s firm.

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Judge: Kushner Companies Must Reveal Identities Of Real Estate Partners

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A federal judge in Maryland ruled Friday that Jared Kushner’s family real estate company could not keep secret the identities of its partners in Baltimore-area apartment complexes that are the subject of a class-action lawsuit by tenants.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in September, following a May article co-published by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine that described how Kushner Companies have used highly aggressive tactics in pursuing payments from tenants and former tenants of 15 large apartment complexes it owns and manages in the Baltimore area.

The lawsuit, filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, alleges that the Kushner Companies’ real estate management arm and related corporate entities have been improperly inflating payments owed by tenants by charging them late fees that are often baseless and in excess of state limits and court fees that are not actually approved by any court. The suit alleges that the late fees and court fees set in motion a vicious cycle in which rent payments are partly put toward the fees instead of the actual rent owed, thus deeming the tenant once again “late” on his or her rent payment, leading to yet more late fees and court fees. Tenants are pressured to pay the snowballing bills with immediate threat of eviction, the suit alleges.

Kushner Companies and its co-defendants sought to have the case transferred from state court to federal court, which would spare it from having to face an all-Baltimore City jury. To have this transfer approved, the defendants needed to show that none of their ownership partners were residents of Maryland. The defendants requested that their submission of the list of partners be sealed from public view, citing the high degree of media interest in Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser.

“Given the tenor of the media’s reporting of this case, including politically-motivated innuendo no doubt intended to disparage the First Family, there is foreseeable risk of prejudice to the privacy rights and reputations of innocent private investors,” wrote Westminster Management, Kushner Companies’ real estate management arm, in a court filing in November.

This request to seal the partners’ identities was challenged several weeks later in a joint filing by ProPublica, the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, and Baltimore TV station WMAR-TV. They argued that the press had a “presumptive right” to view court documents, and that the Kushner Companies had not identified the “compelling government interest” that is required to block public access.

In his ruling Friday, U.S. District Court Judge James K. Bredar stated that the high level of public interest in Kushner and his business associates if anything enhanced the case for maintaining access to the identities of the defendants in the case.

“The Defendants are no doubt correct that the presence of the Kushner (and therefore Trump) families in this case has raised its profile and attracted significant, though perhaps not ‘unprecedented,’ media attention,” Bedar wrote. “But increased public interest in a case does not, by itself, overcome the presumption of access. In fact, it would logically strengthen it, particularly when the interest is due to the presence of important public figures in the litigation. In such an instance, the public’s desire to evaluate the Court’s decision-making is likely augmented. And beyond this apparently inevitable media scrutiny, Defendants have largely relied on ‘vague superlatives’ and insinuations instead of demonstrating specific harms.”

Several recent news reports have given a hint of just how far-reaching the network of investors in the Maryland apartment complexes could be. The New York Times reported earlier this month that Kushner Companies last spring secured a $30 million equity investment in the Baltimore complexes and others of its holdings from Menora Mivtachim, one of Israel’s largest financial institutions, just as Jared Kushner was about to make his first official visit to Israel as President Trump’s designated broker of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. More recently, a New Yorker article described the Kushner Companies’ aggressive pursuit of Chinese investors in its real estate ventures.

In his ruling, Bedar gave the defendants until Feb. 9 to provide the list of their ownership partners. The Kushner Companies could opt instead to return the case to the Circuit Court in Baltimore, if the firm decides the downsides of having to disclose the investment partners in the complexes outweigh the downsides of having the case heard by a Baltimore jury.

A request for comment from Kushner Companies’ spokesman was not immediately returned Friday afternoon. A lawyer for the plaintiff tenants, Andy Freeman, said he and his colleagues on the case had not yet gotten any indication of how Kushner Companies planned to proceed.

“We’re pleased with the ruling. We don’t think that parties to federal litigation should be able to conceal their identity,” Freeman said. He added: “This is just the first step in moving toward justice for the tenants.”

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Housing instability increases risk of poor health outcomes and material hardships

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When families don’t have stable housing, their risk of struggling with poor health outcomes and material hardships, such as food insecurity, increases, according to a new study from Children’s HealthWatch. Researchers surveyed over 22,000 families and found that one third of low-income renters were housing unstable, which was associated with negative impacts on their health.

To determine housing instability, researchers asked families if they had been behind on rent or moved more than twice in the past year, and if their child had experienced homelessness. All three circumstances were associated with increased odds of adverse health outcomes, such as poor caregiver health, poor child health, maternal depressive symptoms, and food and energy insecurity, when compared to families with stable housing.

"Two-thirds of the families who said they were housing insecure were behind on rent in the past year," said Megan Sandel, MD, MPH, principal investigator at Children’s HealthWatch and associate director of the GROW Clinic at Boston Medical Center (BMC). "This should be something doctors pay attention to when screening patients for housing instability, as it hasn’t been recognized as a factor in the past."

The study also explored how multiple unstable housing circumstances affected family health. They found as the number of adverse housing circumstances increased, the odds of child and caregiver health risks also increased. However, there was limited overlap between the three circumstances, with 86 percent of families only experiencing one circumstance.

"Asking questions specific to all three circumstances can help providers asses both individual and community health and housing needs, and identify families who are at risk of poor health associated with housing instability," added Sandel. "Since there is little overlap in the circumstances, it is vital to assess each circumstance to keep families from slipping through the cracks."

Families were surveyed in five urban medical centers in Baltimore, MD, Minneapolis, MN, Boston, MA, Little Rock, AR, and Philadelphia, PA. All of the families were renters and had public health insurance or were uninsured. The study is published online in Pediatrics.

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What You Need To Know To Get That One Perfect Apartment In Baltimore

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Know The Size Of The Apartment You Are Seeking

Slim your apartment or condo finding to the size of rental system you need. Workshop house or one room home or 2 BR apartment or condo or even more. Are you considering a furnished house or do you possible need a brief term leasing. If you are leasing an apartment or condo with a cat, canine, or various other family pet, you require to discover out which apartment or condos permit renting with animals and which do not. And also, if they do permit family pets, exists an added safety down payment called for as well as if so, exactly how much it is. Do you require an apartment complex with a workout area or tennis courts or a swimming pool or a recreation area, and so on or do you merely require and prefer a great clean and also silent pad.

Know Your Budget

When searching for a house, it is always best to have an idea of just what you want. Figuring out specific cost arrays prior to you start looking at homes will certainly save you a great deal of time. Additionally, think about what kind of house you would have an interest in. The number of bed rooms as well as interior square footage a house has is crucial to many people. Additionally, attempt to obtain at least some kind of suggestion of what kind of neighborhood you are seeking. When looking for a house, you want something that will fit your demands.

Understand The Specific Terms Of Your Baltimore Apartment

See exactly what type of adjustments you can make to your apartment. Some landlords permit their renters to paint wall surfaces, or transform certain devices or carpeting. Depending upon exactly what you intend to accomplish with your home, this could be a really crucial inquiry. Some homes might not also enable their lessees to put openings in the walls in order to hang images.

How to Make Smooth Move to Your New Apartment?

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How To Make Smooth Move To Your New Apartment?

When you have to shift apartments, you are required to do the good bit of work on your own. The process can be quite stressful and may become daunting very quickly. However, there are some tips that you should consider for making the process smooth for you.

It is a good idea for you to recruit your army of family and friends for helping you out with the move. In that case, only cost that you will be required to bear would be that for pizza, and you’ll be paying that once everything is well taken care of. But what can be done if no one is available to help you with your move to apartments for rent in Baltimore MD? Unless you find it fun to haul all your stuff box by box in your new apartment on your own, it is probably the best time for you to hire professional movers. Whether it is desirable to get them take care of the whole moving process or they are just hired for helping you to put everything on your moving truck, the staff at most of the moving companies is trained well and they also have all necessary equipment for keeping everything intact and making the move hassle-free and quick for you.

Another important tip that you should consider before making your move easier is that no matter on which floor you are going to move, you should take the elevator. It is not an easy task to move everything up to the new Baltimore apartments, especially when you have to move some big furniture pieces. It is fortunate that most have the apartment buildings tend to have big service elevators, and you can use them for moving all your stuff right at your doorstep in the new apartment. But remember that during busy times so many people are using these elevators, and it is advisable that you should get them booked in advance for your moving day. There are some apartment complexes which allow you to reserve the elevator several months before the day of the move. If you fail to do so, you may have to wait throughout the night in apartment lobby and wait until the elevator gets free.

It is advisable to check with apartment manager to find out when the elevators will be available for you to use. The reason behind this is that some buildings tend to have restrictions on the times of day during which you can use the service elevator. Get all necessary information beforehand and then plan the move in accordance to that.

So, the next time you are going to make a move to new rental apartments in Baltimore, make sure you follow tips above to make your moving process smoother. It is going to pay big time as you’ll be able to eliminate quite a bit of stress from the process.

Maximize the Small Space in Your Apartment

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Maximize The Small Space In Your Apartment

Living in a small apartment, especially rental apartment, can become a challenge when it comes to organizing it. It depends on you that how you utilize the space and create an illusion of bigger apartment. You need to be much creative to create more space and enjoy your time living in the rental apartments. For saving space in your apartment, you need to make it clutter free. It’s not that difficult nowadays to save space in your small apartment. By following the given tips, you can have an organized and spacious apartment.

You can make your space multifunction. For instance, the dining room can also be used as the work place. You can easily do your office work and pursue your hobbies at your dining table. It is possible for you to loiter with your friends in the dining space as well. You can also keep sofa beds in the living room for entertaining your friends at day time and sleep on them at night.

To save space in your apartments for rent in Baltimore MD, you need to organize your closet. Do not make clutter with your clothes in the apartment. Store your clothes appropriately if they are not in use. Manage your closet by only keeping the seasonal clothes inside and store rest of the clothes properly according to the level of importance.

Storage becomes a challenge in small homes or apartments, especially, in the case when you want your apartment to be an organized and inviting one. You want to keep everything that creates the mess out of sight. For this purpose use the hidden storage space of the apartment and keep your important items which you do not use in the mean time under the bed, for instance. But make it certain that there is much space to store things under it. For keeping your things safe, use storage bags before putting your stuff under the bed. Installing shelves for storing things is also a good idea, but it cannot be possible in rental apartments because the property owner will not allow you to do this. You can do it on your property. You have the option to hang your things on the hooks at the back of the doors as well.

In small spaces, you need to be very clever when buying furniture. It should provide some storage space for resolving your storage issues. Also, make sure that the furniture must be placed well so that it will give the illusion of bigger space in your Baltimore apartments.

A well lighted and organized room gives an illusion of spaciousness. So gets the advantage by using light. To maximize your space, use the muted and neutral colors. However, do not use a lot of colors because it gives the cluttered and messy look. Instead of using different colors you can use colors of the same family as it creates harmony.

Tips for Hunting Apartments – Furnishings Do Matter

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Tips For Hunting Apartments – Furnishings Do Matter

If you’re considering to rent the apartment, then it is quite possible for you to get attracted by interesting and playful designs which are presented to you by the leasing agents. Though you find furnishings in the apartments aesthetically pleasing, they might have been installed for some other reason. One major reason may be to give an impression that rooms are spacious and bigger. However, here are some important tips that you should consider while renting apartments in Baltimore.

If you are opting for furnished rentals, it is really important that you determine bed size before getting into a rental agreement. As you’ll be evaluating the apartment from every aspect, the leasing agents want to make sure that you get the best impression of the space available. The bed size should be appropriate according to the room size, and it must also be in good condition at the same time as well. Appearances may be a bit deceiving and for that reason, you should look carefully at different aspects. Another important thing is that it may not be possible for you to determine whether the bed placed in the room is king size or queen size just by taking a look at it, which means that you can’t find out about the spaciousness of the room itself.

The furniture placed in different areas of apartments for rent in Baltimore MD should also be assessed thoroughly for having an idea about the overall space available and that if it is going to fulfill your requirements or not. For example, when kitchen table is placed only with a couple of chairs, you’ll be able to see a lot more open space but if your actual need is a table placed with four chairs then you may find that space a bit congested in the end. So, you should know very well about your preferences and how you will be using different areas in the apartment so that you can be able to make better decisions.

When you are looking for rental apartments, close attention should also be paid to the kind of organization that is there in the apartment and also in different rooms specifically. The reason is that if the apartment is a good one but the furniture is not placed properly, then it will simply ruin the overall look of the entire apartment. Sometimes, things are arranged in the apartment by leasing agents in a manner that rooms look organized and neat, but when you come up with your organization ideas things start getting a bit odd because you are unable to fit things in the way you want.

So, the next time you go out for hunting apartments makes sure you take a close look at space from every aspect. This will help you avoid any troubles later on.

Tips to Consider When Buying Your Closet Organizers

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Tips To Consider When Buying Your Closet Organizers

If you’re amongst those who are interested in making full use of all the available space in your smallapartments for rent in baltimore md, you need to act carefully when you have to make sure that no furniture item you have takes up extra floor space. It is now accepted universally that most of space in apartments or homes is used by closets in comparison to any other kind of furniture.

Nowadays, there are so many closet organizers available in the market, which offer many unique striking features. You should also be aware of the fact that urban population all over the world carries extravagant preferences and tastes, particularly, when it’s about selecting furniture accessories for the households. For this reason, furniture manufacturers these days are providing different customization services to the closet owners. But most of the homeowners prefer to go to the market and buy such organizers for their closets after assessing their individual choices and demands very carefully.

When you’re looking to buy customized closet organizer for your small Baltimore apartments, you make a really good investment by considering some things before spending your money. The tips given below will help you in buying the best organizers for your closets.

First and foremost consideration for you is your available floor space which you can allot to your closet organizer. The purchase has to be made by considering all the dimensions as it will ensure that the closet system that you’ll be buying won’t eat up any extra space which is already at the premium.

Next, on the list is that your personal preferences are quite important as well, particularly, about the materials being used in making of the closet organizers you are going to choose. More often than not, you can find these organizers in laminate with color or wood finish, wire, or the combination of the two options. It also helps in framing budget estimate because the rates differ according to the materials used.

Lastly, the internet is right there at your disposal, and you can find information regarding different manufacturers that may be located in the region you live in. Once you have gathered all the necessary information, your search can be narrowed down, and you can be able to find some durable piece for dealing with the space constraints in your rental apartment in Baltimore.

It is important to consider the space where the organizer is expected to go. Measuring all the dimensions is really important as well. Of course, there is no point in buying something that won’t fit into your space. You have to take all the important aspects into consideration and then invest in something which will serve the purpose best for you. Better organization inside your closet is going to improve your overall storage space no matter how small your apartment is.