The Baltimore-based team of Regina Garcia Cano, mid-Atlantic reporter; Julio Cortez, photographer; and Steve Ruark, freelance photographer; in coordination with New York breaking news investigative reporter Bernard Condon, for reporting based on the ironic twist behind President Donald Trump’s tweets that criticized Baltimore as a “rat and rodent infested mess” – some of those rodents are in apartments owned by his own son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Other news organizations had pointed out, based on previous reporting, that some of the Kushner-owned properties in the Baltimore area had been cited for rodents, as well as mold, bedbugs, leaks and other problems. But AP’s team wanted to put a human face to the story, getting Kushner’s tenants to talk about their experiences and what they thought of Trump’s tweets. Condon did initial reporting to find tenants over the phone. He later enlisted the help of Garcia Cano, Cortez and Ruark, who went to Kushner apartment complexes and found several more tenants who were willing to tell their stories, show the holes where the rodents crept in, and give their opinions on both Trump and Kushner. The story got huge play, ranking prominently on most major news web sites, spending two days near the top of APNews, and even cracking the homepage of the hometown Baltimore Sun. Both Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (a Baltimore native) were later asked about the Kushner connection to the Baltimore story, with Pelosi notably calling Kushner a “slumlord.”