Jared Kushner

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Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner cropped.jpg
Kushner in 2008
Born Jared Corey Kushner
(1981-01-10) January 10, 1981 (age 35)
Livingston, New Jersey, U.S.[1]
Education Harvard University
New York University
Known for Co-owner of Kushner Companies
Owner of the New York Observer
Religion Judaism
Spouse(s) Ivanka Trump (m. 2009)
Children 3
Parent(s) Charles Kushner
Seryl Stadtmauer
Relatives Joshua Kushner (brother)
Murray Kushner (uncle)

Jared Corey Kushner (born January 10, 1981) is an American businessman, investor and political operative. He is principal owner of the real estate holding and development company Kushner Companies and Observer Media, publisher of the weekly New York Observer.

Kushner is the son of American real estate developer Charles Kushner and is married to Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President-elect of the United States Donald Trump. He was among the senior advisors of Trump's presidential campaign, and developed Trump's digital media strategy.[2][3]

In 2007, his father's company, Kushner Companies, made the most expensive single-building property purchase in US history, acquiring 666 Fifth Avenue.[4] In 2011, Kushner brought in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Kushner is the elder son of Seryl Kushner (née Stadtmauer) and real estate developer Charles Kushner.[6][7] He has a brother, Joshua (also a businessman) and two sisters, Nicole and Dara. He is also a nephew of Murray Kushner, the owner of Kushner Real Estate Group. Kushner Real Estate Group is separate from Kushner Companies, which Murray Kushner started in 2000.[8]

Kushner was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in New Jersey.[9] He graduated from the Frisch School, a private, coed yeshiva high school in 1999. According to Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, he was an honors student and a member of the debate, hockey, and basketball teams while at Frisch.[10]

In 2003, Kushner graduated cum laude from Harvard College with an B.A. in sociology.[11][12] According to journalist Daniel Golden, Kushner and his brother Joshua were admitted to Harvard after their father had made a $2.5 million donation to the university.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

While a student at Harvard, Kushner was a member of the Fly Club and bought and sold buildings in Somerville, Massachusetts, earning a $20 million profit.[19]

In 2007, Kushner graduated from New York University where he earned a J.D. and M.B.A.;[20] his father had previously made a $3 million donation to NYU in 2001.[15] He interned at Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's office and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.[8][17]

Business career[edit]

Real estate[edit]

Kushner Companies purchased 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007 for $1.8 billion, the most expensive single property purchase in US history at the time.[21]
In May 2015, Kushner purchased a majority stake of the Times Square Building for $295 million.[22]

Kushner is a real estate investor and has increased the Kushner Companies presence in the New York City real estate market as a principal in his family's real estate company.[23] His father, Charles Kushner, was arrested on charges of tax evasion, illegal campaign donations and witness tampering in 2004 and was eventually convicted on all charges (by the then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie)[24] and sentenced to two years in federal prison.[25]

Kushner Companies purchased the office building at 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007, for a then-record price of $1.8 billion, most of it borrowed.[21] However, following the property crash in 2008, the cash flow generated by the property was insufficient to cover its debt service, and the Kushners were forced to sell the retail portion in the building to Stanley Chera for more than $1 billion[26] and bring in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building.[5]

He assumed the role of CEO of Kushner Companies in 2008.[24] On August 18, 2014, Kushner acquired a three-building apartment portfolio in Middle River, Maryland for $37.9 million with Aion Partners. In 2013–14, Kushner and his company acquired more than 11,000 units throughout New York, New Jersey and the Baltimore area.[27] In May 2015, he purchased 50.1% of the Times Square Building from Africa Israel Investments Ltd. for $295 million.[22]

Newspaper publishing[edit]

At age 25, Kushner purchased the New York Observer, a weekly New York City newspaper, for $10 million,[28] using money he says he earned during his college years by closing deals on residential buildings in Somerville, Massachusetts, with family members providing the backing for his investments.[29]

After purchasing the Observer, Kushner published it in tabloid format.[30] Since then, Kushner has been credited with increasing the Observer's online presence and expanding the Observer Media Group.[31][32] Very young and with no substantial experience in journalism, Jared Kushner could not establish a good relationship with the newspaper's veteran editor-in-chief, Peter W. Kaplan.[33] “This guy doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” Kaplan remarked about Kushner, to colleagues, at the time. [33] As a result of his differences with Jared Kushner, Peter Kaplan quit his position. Kaplan was followed by a series of short-lived successors until Kushner hired Elizabeth Spiers in 2011.[34] In December 2011, the New York Post reported that the Observer expected to become profitable for the first time.[35] Elizabeth Spiers left the newspaper in 2012. In January 2013, Kushner hired a new editor-in-chief, Ken Kurson. Kurson had been a consultant to Republican political candidates in New Jersey[34] and one-time member of Rudy Giuliani's unsuccessful 2008 presidential primary campaign.

According to Vanity Fair, under Kushner, the "Observer has lost virtually all of its cultural currency among New York’s elite, but the paper is now profitable and reporting traffic growth ... [it] boasts 6 million unique visitors per month, up from 1.3 million in January 2013".[36] In April 2016, the New York Observer became one of only a handful of newspapers to officially endorse United States presidential candidate Donald Trump in the Republican primary, but the paper ended the campaign period by choosing not to back any presidential candidate at all.[37][38]

Los Angeles Dodgers bid[edit]

In February 2012, Kushner put in a bid to acquire the MLB team the Los Angeles Dodgers.[39] He withdrew his bid in March 2012.[40]

Political activity[edit]

Donald Trump presidential campaign[edit]

From the outset of the presidential campaign of his father-in-law Donald Trump, Kushner was the architect of Trump's digital, online and social media campaigns, enlisting talent from Silicon Valley to run a 100-person social-media team dubbed "Project Alamo".[2] Kushner has also helped as a speechwriter and was tasked with working to establish a plan for Trump's White House transition team should he be elected.[41] He was for a time seen as Trump's de facto campaign manager, succeeding Corey Lewandowski, who was fired in part on Kushner's recommendation in June 2016.[42] He has been intimately involved with campaign strategy, coordinating Trump's visit in late August to Mexico and he was believed to be responsible for the choice of Mike Pence as Trump's running mate.[2][43] Kushner's "sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign" has been described as "the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid".[44]

According to Eric Schmidt, "he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources",[45] while Peter Thiel said "If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.”[45]

On July 5, 2016 Kushner wrote an open letter in the New York Observer addressing the controversy around a tweet from the Trump campaign containing allegedly antisemitic imagery. He was responding to his own paper's editorial by Dana Schwartz criticizing Kushner's involvement with the Trump campaign.[46] In the letter, Kushner wrote, "In my opinion, accusations like “racist” and “anti-Semite” are being thrown around with a carelessness that risks rendering these words meaningless."[47]

Donald Trump presidential transition[edit]

President-elect Trump and Japanese PM Shinzō Abe, November 17, 2016

During the presidential transition, Kushner was said to be one of Donald Trump's closest advisors, even more so than Trump's four adult children.[48] Trump was reported to have requested the top-secret security clearance for him to attend the Presidential daily intelligence briefings as his staff-level companion, along with General Mike Flynn who already has the clearance.[49]

The Washington Post, New York Times and numerous other national news authorities explain Kushner was an influential factor behind the firing of New Jersey governor Chris Christie as head of the transition team, as well as the dismissal from the Donald Trump transition team of anyone connected to Christie.[50][51] A source familiar with the Trump campaign explained that “Jared doesn’t like Christie. He’s always held [the prosecution of his father, Charles Kushner] against Christie.”[52]

The New York Times reports that Kushner is an admirer of the story The Count of Monte Cristo, which tells of an innocent man who seeks vengeance against people he thinks have wronged him.[33] Kushner's and Chris Christie's lives became intertwined in 2005 when Jared Kushner was 24 years old, the New York Times reports.[33] In 2005, Mr. Christie, then the United States attorney for New Jersey, sent Mr. Kushner’s father, Charles, to federal prison for tax evasion, witness tampering and illegal campaign donations.[33][53] As the Times, CNN[54] and The Washington Post reported, the case involved a tawdry family feud: At one point, Charles Kushner sought to blackmail his brother-in-law, who was cooperating with the federal authorities,[53] by hiring a woman to seduce him and videotape the encounter.[33] The elder Kushner was sentenced to two years in prison, but he was released in 2006 after just 14 months in the federal penitentiary in Alabama and spent the remainder of his sentence in a New Jersey halfway house.[55]

Kushner told Forbes that the reports that he was involved in Christie's dismissal were false: “The media has speculated on a lot of different things, and since I don’t talk to the press, they go as they go, but I was not behind pushing out him or his people.”[56]

Personal life[edit]

Kushner married Ivanka Trump, daughter of businessman and U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, in a Jewish ceremony on October 25, 2009.[57][58] Ivanka Trump converted to Judaism under the auspices of a modern Orthodox rabbi before marrying Kushner. Kushner and Ivanka Trump have three children.[59]


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