||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (March 2016)|
May 16, 1954 |
Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
|Alma mater||New York University (B.A.)
Hofstra University Law School (J.D.)
New York University Stern School of Business (M.B.A.)
|Occupation||Co-owner of Kushner Properties|
|Religion||Modern Orthodox Judaism|
|Spouse(s)||Seryl (Stadtmauer) Kushner|
Charles Kushner (born May 16, 1954) is an American real estate developer, political fundraiser and philanthropist. In 2005, he was convicted in federal court for making illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering.
Kushner's parents were Joseph and Rae Kushner, who were Holocaust survivors and had come to America from Poland or Belarus by way of Italy in 1949. Joseph Kushner worked as a construction worker and concurrently as an independent builder, while investing in real estate, eventually building a portfolio totalling 4,000 New Jersey apartments, which Charles Kushner began managing in 1985. Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy and Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, in Livingston, New Jersey, built by Charles Kushner, are named after them.
Charles Kushner grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, with an elder brother, Murray Kushner, an elder sister Linda, and a younger sister, Esther. His son Jared Kushner is the owner of the New York Observer, and is married to Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald Trump.
Education and legal career
Kushner graduated with an MBA from New York University in 1976 and a Juris Doctor from Hofstra Law School in 1979. He worked as a real estate and tax lawyer, becoming a partner in the law firm of Brach, Eichler, Rosenberg, Silver, Bernstein, Hammer & Gladstone, in Roseland, New Jersey, and a member of the bars in the states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
In January 1985 Kushner founded Kushner Companies, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, and based on his father's real estate holdings. He was CEO, chairman, manager and, he says, "dishwasher"; he had one secretary.
In 1999, Kushner won the Ernst & Young New Jersey Entrepreneur of the Year award. At the time, Kushner Companies had grown to over 10,000 residential apartments, a home building business, commercial and industrial properties and a community bank.
In early 2007, Kushner bought the building at 666 Fifth Avenue, New York City, for US$1.8 billion, the highest price ever paid for a single office building in the United States. Subsequently Kushner shifted focus from his New Jersey real estate operations to the New York market.
In September 2011, Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz met with Kushner and officials of The Kushner Companies. Afterward, she endorsed a scaled-back design concept for the "Landings at Harborside," a proposed residential development set to be built along the city's waterfront. Diaz indicated that Kushner had sketched a concept for the Perth Amboy courthouse that was incorporated into the redesign. The updated plan allowed for subsidized "Section 8" housing rentals instead of requiring the owner-occupied units originally planned.
Philanthropy and fundraising
Because of his contributions, the building housing Hofstra University School of Law is named in honor of Kushner and his wife Seryl (Stadtmauer). He donated $2.5 million to Harvard University, the alma mater of his sons Jared and Joshua. He is also well known for his charitable donations to Jewish educational institutions. One of the Kushner family's philanthropic ventures was the dedication of Joseph Kushner Building of the Jewish Educational Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Kushner's father, Joseph, for whom the building is named, had been a longtime member of the Jewish community and major force in the JEC's early growth.
Kushner also funded the building of the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy (Pre-K through 8) and the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School (grades 9-12), two connected Modern Orthodox Jewish institutions located in Livingston, New Jersey, where Kushner resides. The schools are named after his deceased parents, both Holocaust survivors.
Tax evasion and witness tampering
In 2005, following an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, Kushner was convicted of making illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering by attempting to silence his sister and brother-in-law by creating a sex tape of his brother-in-law with a prostitute. Chris Christie, then the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, negotiated a plea agreement with him and he was sentenced to two years in prison. He has since been released.
- Smothers, Ronald (March 5, 2005). "Democratic Donor Receives Two-Year Prison Sentence". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
- Sherman, Gabriel (July 12, 2009). "The Legacy". New York. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
- Heyman, Marshall (May 15, 2014). "City Real-Estate Royalty Gives to Israeli Hospital". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
- Elkies, Lauren (November 1, 2007). "The Closing: Charles Kushner". The Real Deal. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- "Charles Kushner" Cityfile. Gawker Media. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- "Mini Bio: Rae Kushner", Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- Sherman, Gabriel (July 12, 2009). "The Legacy". New York. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
- Karoliszyn, Hendrick; Furse, Jane H. (October 25, 2009). "Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner pose for wedding photos after ceremony at Trump National Golf Club". Daily News (New York). Retrieved February 24, 2011.
- "Executive Profile: Charles Kushner", Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- "Academic Chairs and Distinguished Professorships", Hofstra University. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- "1999 New Jersey Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year(R) Award Recipients Announced". Ernst & Young. press release, June 17, 1999. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- Bagli, Charles V. (December 7, 2006). "A Big Deal, Even in Manhattan: A Tower Goes for $1.8 Billion". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
- Perth Amboy's Landings at Harborside project takes new direction, The Home News Tribune, 16 September 2011.[dead link]
- "Facilities: Libraries". Graduate Studies 2004–2005. Hofstra University. p. 435.
- Dickter, Adam (July 23, 2004). "Kushner Fallout Unclear". The Jewish Week. Archived from the original on August 28, 2005. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
Kushner is most closely associated with the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston, named for his father, a Holocaust survivor, and the Kushner Hebrew High School.
- Sullivan, John (August 22, 2004). "Like an 'Abandoned Planet'". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
- Hanley, Robert (January 13, 2005). . The New York Times. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- 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
- Meet the Kushners: The Feuding Real Estate Dynasty That Links Donald Trump and Chris Christie Haaretz, March 1, 2016
- New Jersey News: "Accused Kushner in-law again claims tainted evidence" By Claire Heininger January 10, 2008