Judge sides with Kushner-owned company in apartment lawsuit
BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore judge has ruled in favor of an apartment company owed by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner in a lawsuit that claimed the company charged improper fees.
Westminster Management was granted a motion for summary judgment on Thursday, with Baltimore Circuit Judge Philip Jackson agreeing that the lawsuit filed by five tenants shouldn’t proceed, The Baltimore Sun reported.
In his one-page order, Jackson praised both the company and the tenants for “exhaustive and excellent submissions,” the Sun reported.
“It is good to see that the law and justice prevail over political motivations and personal agendas,” Westminster attorney Michael Blumenfeld said.
Westminster Management, a subsidiary of Kushner Cos., still faces a lawsuit from Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who accused the company of taking advantage of low- and middle-income families and violating “numerous” consumer protection laws.
In the lawsuit filed by the tenants, both sides disagreed over a Maryland law that says no more than 5% can be charged on top of late rent payments, the Sun reported.
Andrew Freeman, an attorney for the tenants, said 5% was charged if rent was more than five days late. But Freeman said the company also charged additional agent fees and summons fees related to litigating the lack of payment, the Sun reported.
“These are working-class tenants. Nobody wants to be late on their rent. But if they are in a hard place and they are late, the landlord is entitled to charge a 5% late fee. That is supposed to cover all of the costs associated with collecting late rent. Yet they’ve been adding in various other fees,” Freeman said.
Freeman said his clients plan to appeal Thursday’s ruling.