Charles Kushner: Here’s the truth about my family and our business

March 20 at 7:09 PM

Originally published by the WashingtonPost

Charles Kushner is a founder and principal of the Kushner Companies, a diversified real estate company.

Over the past two years, the news media have told a story about my family and our business with little regard for nuance, logic or even facts. A familiar story line suggested that Kushner Companies was on the brink of collapse, about to be brought down by an over-leveraged building. Though I am a private person and prefer to keep the details of my family’s business as private as possible, I want to set the record straight.

My father, Joseph, a Holocaust survivor, worked in construction in New York after World War II and went on to become a developer and owner of houses and garden apartments. I trained as a lawyer but soon followed in my father’s footsteps, seeing an opportunity for faster growth by buying apartments in addition to building them. In 1985, we partnered to start a new business, Kushner Companies, but shortly after we bought our first property, my father died from a stroke. I was devastated but carried on with the business.

Over the next decade, I bought and built more than 20,000 apartments in the Northeast. I also expanded the company into other businesses, such as banking, insurance, sports and energy.

In 2007, the Kushner Companies bought 666 Fifth Ave. in New York City for a then-record $1.8 billion. The thesis of the purchase: The parts of the 1.5 million-square-foot building were worth more than the whole, and splitting it into retail and office components would create value of more than $2.5 billion.

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