It was sweet redemption for Charles Kushner last year when his son Jared was named senior White House adviser. A dozen years earlier, a sordid scandal stemming partly from a family falling-out had reduced the senior Mr. Kushner from real estate baron to felon making wallets at a prison camp in Alabama.
Now, with his son newly installed as a top aide to the president, Mr. Kushner even expressed hope, one close family friend said, that he might receive a pardon.
Absolution, however, is not what the White House has conferred on the Kushners. For the patriarch and his family, the pinnacle of American political power has turned out to be a wellspring of trouble.
Jared Kushner is embroiled in the special counsel inquiry, including questions about whether he discussed the family’s business with foreign officials — a suggestion he has denied. His younger brother, Josh, has opposed the Trump presidency, driving a wedge between the men in a family that prizes close ties.
The elder Mr. Kushner, his company and his family are assailed by criminal and regulatory inquiries largely rooted in their newfound access to presidential power. The family’s East Coast-based real estate empire is under a fiscal and ethical cloud, shunned by some investors who fear being dragged into the spotlight trained on the Kushner nexus with President Trump. Two major Manhattan properties are on creditors’ watch lists, one after foreign investors backed out of a financing deal.In a recent interview in his 15th-floor office at 666 Fifth Avenue — an aluminum-clad Manhattan skyscraper that has become a symbol of the family’s troubles — Charles Kushner brushed it all aside as false insinuations whipped into a publicity frenzy partly by political opponents.
Slender, silver-haired and impeccably dressed, Mr. Kushner, 63, was by turns charming, blunt and philosophical, an engaging contrast to Jared Kushner’s more stilted persona. He made little effort to hide his contempt for the investigations of his business and family, saying that the stacks of records he has voluntarily given investigators rebut any suggestion of impropriety.
“Go knock yourselves out for the next 10 years,” he said. “We didn’t do anything wrong.”