Jared Kushner's company asks court to dismiss Maryland tenants' lawsuit

The Maryland apartment management company owned by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has asked a U.S. District Court judge to dismiss a tenants’ lawsuit filed against it in Baltimore after having the case moved to federal court.

The company, Westminster Management, removed the lawsuit from Baltimore Circuit Court and relocated it to federal court in Maryland earlier this month after asserting its legal right to do so if its corporate entities and members reside in another state.

In court documents filed by Westminster Management the company states that it has four members that reside in other states: a similarly-named entity based in New Jersey; Charles and Seryl Kushner, a New York City couple; and their eldest son, Jared Kushner, a “resident of New York, New York and Washington, D.C.”

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump moved to Washington earlier this year after both became White House advisers for President Trump.

On Tuesday Westminster Management filed a motion to dismiss the tenants’ lawsuit. Two tenants filed the action in Baltimore Circuit Court in late September alleging that Westminster Management has been charging improper fees and threatening eviction to force payment. They also allege that the company has violated the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act by using collection tactics they say are meant to “abuse or harass” them.

The tenants — Tenae Smith, who lives in the Dutch Village apartments in Northeast Baltimore, and Howard Smith, who lives in the Carroll Park apartments in Middle River — are seeking damages in excess of $75,000 and attorneys fees.

Tenae Smith is challenging a lease she has held since 2009; Howard Smith’s lease dates to September 2014.

Westminster Management states in its motion to dismiss that the claims are “barred by Maryland’s three-year statute of limitations.” The motion, filed by Baltimore attorney Cynthia L. Maskol, also states that the tenants failed to present enough facts to claim Westminster has violated the state’s real property article, debt collection act and consumer protection act.

Andrew D. Freeman, an attorney for the tenants, said they will respond to the motion to dismiss and expects the case to move forward.

ddonovan@baltsun.com

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