Jared Kushner led the most expensive real-estate purchase in Manhattan history. And he bought a newspaper.
Not bad for a 20-something.
Kushner, the son of disgraced real-estate mogul Charles Kushner, swooped in in 2006 and purchased the struggling New York Observer.
He was 26 at the time — which meant he would’ve fit in perfectly with the notoriously young Observer newsroom.
But since then, the Observer Media Group has grown considerably, and Kushner’s profile has only risen as he continued to manage real estate and marry into a very famous family.
Jared Kushner grew up rich. He went to an Orthodox Jewish high school in New Jersey, and his father, Charles Kushner, was a real-estate magnate and philanthropist. The elder Kushner donated $2.5 million to Harvard, which reportedly allowed Jared to get admitted there.
Kushner graduated from Harvard in '03; in '04, his father was sentenced to two years in prison for witness tampering, tax evasion and making illegal campaign contributions. One accusation accused him of trying to blackmail his brother-in-law using prostitutes.
Post-Harvard graduation, Jared Kushner enrolled in a JD/MBA program at NYU while building on the real-estate investments he made in college. With money from those investments — and while he was still in grad school — he bought the New York Observer in 2006 while also managing real estate with his siblings.
The Observer had been hemorrhaging money at a rate of about $2 million a year. Kushner bought it for less than $10 million. He was 25.
Around the time he bought the Observer, Kushner and his family made another lavish purchase, paying $1.8 billion for 666 Fifth Avenue — a record price. There have since been questions about whether the financing on the deal was shady.
Kushner's reputation extends beyond newsprint and skyscrapers, though. He dated Laura Englander, the daughter of hedge-fund billionaire Israel Englander, and then married Ivanka Trump, daughter of The Donald. The two now have a child.
Ivanka and Jared's marriage has also led to awkward situations with the Observer, which is well-known for its political and real-estate coverage — both areas the Donald is prolific in. The NYO has been criticised for going too easy on Trump and inflating his real-estate prowess during Kushner's ownership.
There were some early difficulties with the Observer property. After losing longtime editor Peter Kaplan in July 2009 — Kaplan and Kushner never quite clicked, with the paper even missing newsstands on one occasion — Kushner went through two more before settling on current editor Elizabeth Spiers.
Things have been generally moving up, though. The Observer Media Group has expanded to include a number of other verticals, including magazines and tech site Betabeat, and reportedly just became profitable.
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