Jared Kushner road into Washington on the coattails of father-in-law Donald Trump. Kushner is a New York real estate developer who learned the art of the deal from his father and his father-in-law. His company, Kushner Cos, is under a New York investigation for misrepresenting the value of their real estate holdings, and for using questionable tactics to get old tenants to leave their apartments. Kushner Cos allegedly force old tenants out in order to bring new tenants who were willing to pay more for the same apartments.
When Kushner and wife Ivanka joined the Washington political scene, most politicians thought they were just window dressing for Trump’s presidency. But Trump wanted Kushner to be his foreign policy advisor. Or maybe Kushner wanted to be the guy who could bring the Palestinians and the Israelis to the peace table. What the scenario peace is a long way off in the Middle East. Some people in Washington say Kushner doesn’t have the experience or the innate knowledge to broker peace in the Middle East. But he does have experience avoiding federal taxes, according to New York Times.
According to a review of his finances, created with Kushner’s cooperation, in order to get a loan from a financial institution, Kushner used the real estate depreciation clause in the tax code to avoid paying personal income taxes. The building depreciation allowance in the tax code gave Kushner the opportunity to buy real estate using a mortgage or private loan, and then use part of the tax benefit from owning the building to offset his personal income. In other words, Jared Kushner got a depreciation allowance from the government even though he didn’t really own the real state outright. Financial lenders had liens on the properties. And here’s the interesting part. What he did was legal.
According to Peter Mirijanian, a spokesperson for Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell, the information in the New York Times article comes from incomplete documents. Using those documents violates standard business confidentiality agreement and the law, according to Peter Mirijanian.
The fact that Kushner got a tax break for several years using depreciation is not the issue people have with Jared Kushner. Kushner is a smart and calculating businessman who lives on the border of his version of right and wrong. Mr. Kushner has a superhero shield vibrating around that thin suit demeanor, so he is the man people love to hate.
But the Mueller’s investigation might zap and collapse that shield with some heavy duty collusion proving evidence. His Trump Tower party with Trump Jr. and the Russian operative before the 2016 election may be his kryptonite.