NJ real estate investor Kushner (not that one) indicted for tax evasion

A grand jury indicted David Kushner, a real estate investor in New Jersey, for three counts of tax evasion. Between 2014 and 2016, Kushner’s business grossly underreported its taxable income and failed to pay more than $670,000 in taxes, the indictment alleges. His attorney says he owes nothing and predicted the IRS would come around to that view. The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division found that in 2014, Kushner allegedly failed to report $634,444

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Tenant activist nixed from City Planning Commission

Real estate, take heart: Cea Weaver, longtime antagonist of the industry, will not be spouting socialism on a city salary. New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams quietly withdrew Weaver’s nomination to the City Planning Commission a little more than a month after making it. It is unclear where exactly the opposition to Weaver’s appointment came from, but there is no shortage of suspects. A spokesperson for Williams said Weaver requested her name be withdrawn.

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Phony website falsely claims REBNY cancels rent

UPDATED, Mar. 1 2021, 1:15 p.m.: April Fool’s Day came a month early for New York’s biggest real estate industry group and a City Council member, who were targeted by a “cancel rent” cyber prank. A bogus website mimicking that of the Real Estate Board of New York went live on Monday, claiming that the trade association had canceled rent at its members’ properties. The fake was immediately seized upon and disseminated by a tenant

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Lawsuit challenges New York eviction ban’s constitutionality

Five small landlords have sued New York attorney general Letitia James, arguing that the new blanket moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional. Attorneys for the plaintiffs allege that the hardship declaration form, which landlords are now required to send their tenants, is “unconstitutional compelled speech,” because it forces landlords to voice support for a policy that is “squarely adverse” to their interests. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in New York’s Eastern District, lays out

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Status of NY’s commercial eviction ban is unknown

After Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued another executive order, the status of the ban on commercial evictions and foreclosures is unclear. On Monday, Cuomo issued an order that some real estate attorneys, who declined to be named because they said they did not want to publicly contradict the governor, believe extended the state’s existing ban. A spokesperson for Cuomo said he did “not believe” the executive order extended the ban, but did not clarify whether that

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A reckoning on rent

Three of Petra Drauschak’s 14 tenants have abandoned their leases during the pandemic. One had already stopped paying by February 2020, when Covid began sweeping across the U.S., but Drauschak’s hands were tied by Pennsylvania’s eviction ban. The tenant left in August without paying the remaining rent and arrears. Tipped off by a neighbor, Drauschak followed the tenant to her ex-fiance’s house and successfully served her papers. A court awarded the landlord $12,000, but the

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Keller Williams shakes up its C-suite

The restructuring of Keller Williams’ C-suite continues, with the brokerage announcing a new president and a spate of executive promotions. The firm’s co-directors of growth, Marc King and Matt Green, will now serve as president and head of agent and partner experience, respectively. Jason Abrams will assume the role of head of industry, a move up from his previous role as the vice president of industry. And Chris Cox, who previously worked for Bain Consulting,

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Emerald Equity siphoned security deposits at now-bankrupt buildings

Instead of setting aside $470,000 in security deposits at 11 East Harlem buildings, Isaac Kassirer’s Emerald Equity Group says it siphoned the money into its operating accounts. The practice — ongoing since Emerald Equity acquired the apartment buildings in late 2017 — came to light in a declaration made by the landlord’s attorney in an ongoing bankruptcy proceeding. Emerald Equity defaulted on $203 million in loans from LoanCore for the Harlem buildings in December 2020.

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Ulster County eyes revamp of long-closed IBM campus

 Ulster County is looking to develop a chunk of a megacampus where IBM once employed more than 7,000 people. County officials announced Wednesday they would accept expressions of interest for two properties that make up a portion of former IBM research and development facilities. The properties, now known as Enterprise West, include a 400,000-square-foot building with a 1,700-spot parking lot. The properties used to house Bank of America’s New York tax processing center. IBM manufactured

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Landlords hail relief bill as end of “cancel rent”

State lawmakers today revealed the details of how the state will dole out New York’s $1.3 billion in rent relief. A newly amended bill aims to meet the federal requirements for the rent-relief program, which include means-testing and priority for tenants who demonstrate housing instability or risk of homelessness. Landlords could receive rent relief for as much as a year of rental arrears — plus three additional months, if funds are available — but it’s

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