The newspaper articles seemed rather meaningless.
Three were about New York City landlords and another was about a purchase of an apartment in a chic Manhattan neighborhood by an NBA official, their URLs showed. But all became inherently consequential after they were removed at the behest of Jared Kushner, the publisher, a former contract employee for the New York Observer said on Tuesday.
Kushner, son-in-law of President Donald Trump, purchased the weekly newspaper in 2006, six years before asking software developer Austin Smith to erase four articles that had been previously published.
Smith, who was a consultant, told The Post the requests first came through a higher up and later Kushner himself. The stories were about Neil Rubler, a real-estate developer who in 2010 reached a settlement with New York City for forcing tenants out of their homes, according to BuzzFeed News, which originally reported the story. Kushner three days after Thanksgiving 2012 requested Smith erase a story about the purchase of a Manhattan apartment by now-NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
Neither Rubler nor the White House returned requests for comment.
The executive framed the situation as a “delicate matter” and requested for the removal of three articles about Rubler, according to emails obtained by The Post. Kushner later in November requested the removal of the story about Silver.
The erasures first occurred under the leadership of then-editor-in-chief Elizabeth Spiers, who told The Post she was unaware of the erasure but said Kushner previously requested over the phone she couch stories about media mogul Rupert Murdoch, his mentor.
Spiers said it’s not unusual for newspaper owners who are less familiar with the business to request some stories be held. But it was unusual, she said, for Kushner to unilaterally erase a story from existence.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Erin B. Logan