May 16, 1954
|Education||New York University (BA)|
Hofstra University (JD)
New York University (MBA)
|Occupation||Co-owner of Kushner Properties|
|Net worth||$1.8 billion (family, 2016)|
|Children||4, including Jared and Joshua|
|Relatives||Murray Kushner (brother)|
Marc Kushner (nephew)
Charles Kushner (born May 16, 1954) is an American real estate developer. He founded Kushner Companies in 1985. In 2005, he was convicted of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. He served 14 months in federal prison and an additional ten months in a halfway house, and resumed his career in real estate after his release. His son, Jared Kushner, is the husband of Ivanka Trump and son-in-law and senior advisor to President Donald Trump.
Early life and education
Kushner was born on May 16, 1954, to Joseph (né Berkowitz) and Rae Kushner, Jewish Holocaust survivors born in eastern Poland who came to America from the USSR in 1949. At birth, he was named Chanan, after a maternal uncle who died in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. He grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, with his elder brother Murray Kushner and sister Esther Schulder.:3 His father worked as a construction worker, builder, and real estate investor. Kushner graduated from the Hofstra University School of Law in 1979.
In 1985, he began managing his father's portfolio of 4,000 New Jersey apartments. He founded Kushner Companies – headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey – and became its chairman. In 1999, he won the Ernst & Young New Jersey Entrepreneur of the Year award. At the time, Kushner Companies had grown to more than 10,000 residential apartments, a homebuilding business, commercial and industrial properties, and a community bank.
On June 30, 2004, Kushner was fined $508,900 by the Federal Election Commission for contributing to Democratic political campaigns in the names of his partnerships when he lacked authorization to do so. In 2005, following an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie negotiated a plea agreement with him, under which he pleaded guilty to 18 counts of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. The witness-tampering charge arose from Kushner's act of retaliation against William Schulder, his sister Esther's husband, who was cooperating with federal investigators; Kushner hired a prostitute he knew to seduce his brother-in-law, arranged to record an encounter between the two, and had the tape sent to his sister. He was sentenced to two years in prison, and served 14 months at Federal Prison Camp, Montgomery in Alabama before being sent to a halfway house in Newark, New Jersey, to complete his sentence. He was released from prison on August 25, 2006.
New York City real estate
After being released from prison, Kushner shifted his business activities from New Jersey to New York City. In early 2007, Kushner Companies bought the 666 Fifth Avenue building in Manhattan for $1.8 billion. He and his family are estimated to have a net worth of $1.8 billion. He has employed two fellow inmates he became acquainted with in prison.
Before 2016, Kushner was a donor to the Democratic Party. He serves on the boards of Touro College, Stern College for Women, Rabbinical College of America, and the United Jewish Communities. Kushner has donated to Harvard University, Stern College, the St. Barnabas Medical Center, and United Cerebral Palsy. He contributed to the funding of two schools, Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy and Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, in Livingston, New Jersey, and named them after his parents. Kushner Hall is a building that is named after him on the Hofstra University campus. The campus of Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center is named the "Seryl and Charles Kushner Campus" in honor of their donation of $20 million.
In August 2015, Kushner donated $100,000 to Donald Trump's Make America Great Again PAC, a super PAC supporting Trump's 2016 campaign for the presidency. Kushner and his wife also hosted a reception for Trump at their Jersey Shore seaside mansion in Long Branch.
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- "Academic Chairs and Distinguished Professorships", section: "The Joseph Kushner Distinguished Professorship in Civil Liberties Law". 2016–2017 Undergraduate Bulletin, Hofstra University. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
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- John Cloud, So, Did You Get My Gift?, Time (July 18, 2004).
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- New York Magazine: "The Legacy – his son Jared, the 28-year-old Observer owner, has to carry the ambition for the both of them" By Gabriel Sherman July 12, 2009
- "Charles Kushner". Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator.
- In re Kushner, 870 A.2d 248, 183 N.J. 130 (2005).
- In re Kushner, 18 A.D.3d 953, 793 N.Y.S.2d 781 (2005) (per curiam).
- "Public Discipline" (PDF). Pennsylvania Bar Association. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
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- "Hofstra Myths Debunked: Campus buildings named after criminals?". The Hofstra Chronicle. October 27, 2010. Archived from the original on July 30, 2017. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
- "Shaare Zedek Medical Center campus to be named in honor of New York couple". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
- Katy O'Donnell, Trump attended big-donor fundraiser last month, Politico (August 23, 2015).
- Maggie Haberman, Donald Trump Pays a Visit to His Not-So-Poor Relations, New York Times (August 23, 2016).