Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called it “one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes” he ever prosecuted as U.S. attorney. But On Wednesday, Trump pardoned Charles Kushner as part of a late-hour clemency spree during the final days of his presidency that has included a slew of campaign aides and allies, the Associated Press reported.
- Sordid tale: After Charles Kushner discovered his brother-in-law was cooperating with federal authorities, the wealthy real estate executive hatched a scheme for revenge and intimidation. Kushner hired a prostitute to lure his brother-in-law, then arranged to have the encounter in a New Jersey motel room recorded with a hidden camera and the recording sent to his own sister, the man’s wife, AP noted.
- The scheme didn’t work: Kushner later pleaded guilty to tax evasion and making illegal campaign donations in a case tailor-made for tabloid headlines.
- Heard on Washington: President Trump on the Kushner Pardon: “Since completing his sentence in 2006, Mr. Kushner has been devoted to important philanthropic organizations and causes, such as Saint Barnabas Medical Center and United Cerebral Palsy. This record of reform and charity overshadows Kushner’s conviction and 2 year sentence for preparing false tax returns, witness retaliation, and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission.”
- Pardoned, but public rehab not complete: When Charles Kushner was sent to prison in 2005, the family asked PR Guru Howard Rubenstein how to rehab the Kushner name. He suggested that Jared buy a newspaper, marry the daughter of a rich New York family, and acquire a trophy asset.
- Jared listened… He bought the Observer, married Ivanka, and acquired 666 Fifth Avenue. Kushner Companies began acquiring assets out of their traditional multi-family criteria, which has put them in trouble in recent years. For instance, the family acquired the Fifth Avenue office building for a record-setting $1.8 billion deal, and divested the asset via 99-year ground lease to Brookfield in 2018.
- Other flashy transactions hurt the family firm: The firm is now in a grace period on a $285 million CMBS loan secured by the 248,457-square-foot retail condo at 229 West 43rd Street. A recent appraisal slashed the four-story retail property’s value by 80 percent, from $470 million in 2017 to $92.5 million.