Kushner Cos., the real estate firm owned by the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, has received about $800 million in federally backed debt to buy apartments in Maryland and Virginia -- the company’s biggest purchase in a decade.
The loan was issued by Berkadia, a lender co-owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Jefferies Financial Group Inc., in a deal that’s backed by government-owned Freddie Mac, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named discussing the private transaction.
The arrangement increases the government’s exposure to Kushner Cos. at the same time that its former chief executive officer is one of the most powerful people in the White House. Jared Kushner divested ownership in many of the company’s assets to close family members when he joined the government. Kushner Cos. had more than $500 million in loans from Fannie and Freddie at that time.
Spokespeople for Kushner Cos., Berkadia and Freddie Mac didn’t respond to requests for comment. Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Jared Kushner’s attorney Abbe Lowell, has frequently said that Kushner has no involvement in the company’s management.
“As part of an ethics agreement he has and has followed, Mr. Kushner has had no role in the Kushner Companies or its activities since joining the government over two years ago,” Mirijanian said in a February email when Bloomberg first reported on the government’s potential involvement. “He is walled off from any business or investment decisions and has no idea or knowledge of these activities."
Bloomberg reported in February that Kushner was purchasing 6,030 apartments across 16 properties in the two states from private equity firm Lone Star Funds in a $1.15 billion deal. The Real Deal reported earlier Thursday on the closing of the transaction.
Trump appointed Joseph Otting to oversee the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie and Freddie. Otting previously served as CEO of OneWest Bank, founded by now-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, an ally of Kushner’s in the West Wing.
The purchase from Lone Star is the latest sign that Kushner Cos. is returning to its roots as an owner of suburban properties. It sold almost $2 billion of apartments in 2007 to help finance the purchase of 666 Fifth Ave. The company set a record with the $1.8 billion purchase of the 41-story Manhattan office tower, which was then burdened by heavy debt payments for more than a decade.
Kushner Cos. reached a deal to sell a 99-year lease on 666 Fifth to Brookfield Asset Management Inc. last year, and has been pivoting back to the sprawling multifamily complexes that Charlie Kushner, Jared’s father, built his fortune on.
In 2017, Kushner Cos. teamed up with Israel-based Psagot Investment House to buy Quail Ridge, a 1,032-unit complex in Plainsboro, New Jersey, that the Kushner family had owned until a 2007 sale. In April last year, the firm bought the 360-unit Prospect Place in Hackensack, New Jersey.