Kushner Companies Get Backlash Over Pitch to EB-5 Investors for NJ Project
Kushner Companies did not take part in a roadshow to promote the company’s One Journal Square project this weekend, due to backlash over its pitch to Chinese EB-5 investors, reports the Real Deal.
Jared Kushner, who partially owns the real estate project and is President Trump’s son-in-law, is at the center of controversy over the company’s use of a federal visa program to raise $150 million from Chinese investors for two luxury buildings in New Jersey, according to the Washington Post.
This program allows foreign investors to easily get a visa, if they can invest at least $500,000 in an eligible project—critics have nicknamed it “visas for cash”, reports the Post.
Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, received major backlash for her comments in Beijing on Saturday, where she said that One Journal Square, “means a lot to me and my entire family,”—she then proceeded to name drop her brother and said he worked in the White House, according to the New York Times.
The company apologized and said Ms. Meyer did not intend to use her brother’s name to persuade investors and Risa B. Heller, a spokeswoman for the company, said that their employees would not participate in the roadshow after what happened in Beijing, reports the Times.
But according to Reuters, the Bejing based Qiawai, which organized the roadside for the Kushner’s One Journal Square project, proceeded to highlight the U.S political connections to investors anyways.
Qiawai is migration agency which has built a successful business by helping U.S developers raise money through controversial EB-5 programs and these programs have been scrutinized by politicians who point to fraud and abuse, reports Reuters.
The company’s founder and president, Ding Ying, claimed to have attended President Trump’s inauguration, where he met with the President and members of his family and cabinet, according to the Real Deal.
“The fact that Ms Ding has once again been invited to attend a presidential inauguration shows that the U.S. Congress values and approves of the Qiaowai group,” wrote the company’s website.
According to the Post, the project, One Journal Square, faces other obstacles— like having a key tenant, WeWork, suspending their plans to lease the space in the building. This problem threatens the pledged tax breaks from the state of New Jersey; in fact Steve Fulop, the mayor of Jersey City, denied Kushners’ request for $30.4 million in city bonds and a 30-year tax abatement, reports the Post.
The White House and Jared Kushner have not responded to any requests for comment on Thursday, says the Post.
- New Jersey
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