Over the last 15 years, CIM has been the center of headlines in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal, among other media outlets. The news stories have covered a range of issues:
- CIM’s mistreatment of blue-collar, immigrant tenants
- its gentrification of neighborhoods of color
- community opposition to CIM development plans
- construction defects
- CIM’s real estate deals with Donald Trump
These and other cases have also led to headlines involving the pension funds that invest in CIM and calls for pension funds to divest from CIM.
The Private Equity Stakeholder Project and African Communities Together (ACT) have released a report documenting the headline risk posed by CIM to investors due to the amount of negative media coverage that CIM has received in the past and continues to receive in a number of areas, including:
- Problems Faced By Tenants. Several recent news stories have detailed problems faced by tenants at CIM-owned apartments. A Business Insider story about CIM’s purchase of an apartment complex said that “instead of improvements and upgrades, tenants received eviction notices during a nationwide ban on evictions — and mold, pest, and other maintenance issues went unresolved.”
- Furthering Gentrification that Displaces Disenfranchised Communities. A number of stories have covered community opposition to CIM’s development plans. A Los Angeles Times story in 2020 quoted a local pastor, “What CIM proposes is a hostile takeover of the most iconic African-American retail space west of the Mississippi River and the construction of a project that would ignore the community’s needs and wishes and possibly wipe out dozens of minority-owned businesses.”
- Labor Issues and the Exploitation of Workers. A New Yorker story last year examined the interconnected relationship between CIM and a chain of bakeries at which workers had formed a union and were engaged in a multi-year fight for a first contract.
- Dangerous Construction and Irresponsible Development. The New York Times reported in 2021 that the condo board at a luxury tower sued CIM for 1,500 construction and design defects, including multiple floods, faulty elevators, and electrical explosions that knocked out power to residents. According to the Times, residents have been trapped for hours on stalled elevators “on several occasions.” The lawsuit is pending.
- Real Estate Deals with Donald Trump. WNYC reported in 2015 that “CIM has done at least seven real estate deals that have benefited Trump and the people around him, including [Jared] Kushner.” A New York Times story noted that CIM, which had purchased the Trump SoHo Hotel, was contractually obligated to pay the Trump Organization a “cut of the hotel’s revenue” even after Trump was elected.
- Pension Fund Problems. CIM’s connections to Trump brought significant media attention to the pension funds invested in CIM. A 2017 Washington Post story noted that CIM “became the target of a public pressure campaign. Democrats and liberal activists began urging state pension funds, which owned stakes in Trump SoHo through investments in CIM, to extract themselves.” CIM also had previous pension fund problems. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2009 that its “voracious appetite for public investment landed CIM in the public spotlight.” CIM had paid the former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor nearly $16 million in fees for securing investments from CalPERS and CalSTRS.
Find the report HERE.