Below-Market Rent Is an Old Scam

BN-SJ958_0307IV_J_20170307210142I personally have known two people in positions of influence who either got free rent or way below-market terms on their mortgage as a way to transfer value under the table. There was also the story of the Obamas’ house, which they allegedly bought for a below-market price from a crony. So as soon as I saw this headline about Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner renting from a would-be crony in DC, I smelled a rat, but without leaping to judgment–I wanted to know a few things first.
I read on to see if (a) they disclosed the rental price, and (b) if the Trump/Kushners had a hand in picking the property up front–before it was purchased by their landlord. The first question-did they disclose the rental price?-I was not surprised to find they did not. But the second item-did they pick the house themselves?-I was amazed to find they did! That’s very fishy. Now I really want to know the rent they are paying–if it’s below $20,000 per month, it’s below-market value, and you have to ask why.
Ivanka Trump’s Landlord Is a Chilean Billionaire Suing the U.S. Government
President Donald Trump’s daughter and her husband, White House adviser Jared Kushner, live in a Kalorama house owned by a Chilean business titan. His company is suing the U.S. over a Minnesota mine

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are renting a Washington, D.C., home from a Chilean billionaire who bought it after the November election and whose company is embroiled in a dispute with the U.S. government over a mine potentially worth billions of dollars….
Rodrigo TerrĂ©, a relative…who manages the billionaire’s personal investments….said that a Luksic company, Tracy DC Real Estate Inc., bought the Washington house as an investment and that the rental to the couple was coincidental. He said the couple was paying “absolute market value” in rent, declining to disclose the amount….
The couple was shopping for a house late last year and looked at the Kalorama mansion. They weren’t interested in buying it and instead wanted to rent it, the White House spokeswoman said. Their broker said he represented someone who had a bid on the house and helped facilitate the match.

The following two paragraphs did not appear in the print edition of the paper this morning, but were in the online version, which I checked later in the day. They serve to attempt to diminish the apparent impropriety, in my opinion.

Trevor Potter, a Republican lawyer who formerly chaired the Federal Election Commission, said: “To me, the favor is having a house made available to them on short notice.”
The house was not listed for rent on the Metropolitan Regional Information System, used to advertise listings. Mr. Terré said that, before closing on the house, he instructed his real-estate agent to tell other agents that the house would be available for rent.


1 thought on “Below-Market Rent Is an Old Scam”

Leave a Comment