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New Suitor Talking to N.Y. Paper

Jared Kushner, law student and son of a disgraced New Jersey developer, is discussing buying the influential New York Observer.

July 23, 2006|Josh Getlin | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — The ongoing negotiations to find a new owner for the New York Observer, a lively and influential but financially troubled weekly newspaper, took a new twist with the disclosure that Jared Kushner -- the 25-year-old son of Charles Kushner, a once prominent but now disgraced New Jersey real estate developer -- has entered into talks to buy the paper.

The talks between Kushner and Observer owner Arthur Carter "have become serious, although no final decision has been reached," said a source familiar with the negotiations. Kushner is independently wealthy and has shown strong interest in the Observer, the source added. One of four siblings, he is a student at New York University Law School and is expected to graduate in 2007. An announcement on the potential deal could come by the end of this week, the source said.

Charles Kushner was a powerful developer with close ties to former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey and other state politicians. But he has pleaded guilty to a series of federal crimes, including filing false tax returns and false campaign finance reports, and attempting to intimidate a federal witness. The elder Kushner faces 18 months in jail and has paid a $508,900 fine to the Federal Election Commission.

The news of Jared Kushner's interest in the Observer came on the heels of the collapse of a deal with actor Robert De Niro's Tribeca Enterprises, a group that founded the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

That deal, which was pronounced dead last week by Peter Kaplan, the Observer's editor, fell through after the two parties could not come to agreement on financial terms, Kaplan said. No price was disclosed.

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