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Democratic senators ask if Kushner got special treatment on government-backed loan

Caleb Melby, Bloomberg News on

Published in Business News

NEW YORK -- Two Democratic senators are asking whether Kushner Cos. "may have received special treatment" on a U.S.-government-backed loan of about $800 million.

Jared Kushner, the former chief executive officer of Kushner Cos., maintained ownership of some assets associated with the real estate company while divesting others to close family members when he became an adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump.

Kushner's status, combined with the size of the loan backed by federally chartered Freddie Mac, raise "serious questions about conflicts of interest and whether Kushner Companies may have received special treatment" from Freddie, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tom Carper of Delaware wrote in a June 13 letter to Freddie's chief executive officer, Donald H. Layton. They noted that there was no specific indication of any wrongdoing by Freddie in the matter.

The letter follows articles by Bloomberg about Kushner Cos.' efforts to seek the loan, and another about having obtained it last month in a transaction with commercial mortgage issuer Berkadia.

A spokesman for Kushner Cos. said all of its debt is bid and obtained through a competitive process. "Kushner Companies has done extensive business with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for decades, and the insinuation of any favorable treatment is ridiculous and totally false," the spokesman said.

Spokesmen for Jared Kushner, Freddie Mac and Berkadia didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Jared Kushner's lawyer, has said previously that Kushner follows an ethics agreement and is "walled off from any business or investment decisions and has no idea or knowledge of these activities."

 

The $800 million loan will be used to buy apartments in Maryland and Virginia, in the Kushner Cos.' biggest purchase in a decade. The arrangement increases the government's exposure to the company, which had more than $500 million of government-backed loans when Jared Kushner joined the administration.

The letter requests a full timeline of the application and approval process. It asks which officials at Freddie were involved in issuing the loan and whether Jared Kushner or other people affiliated with the family company communicated with any Freddie Mac officials about it.

(David Kocieniewski, Lily Katz and Terrence Dopp contributed to this report.)

(c)2019 Bloomberg News

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