InvestmentsReal Estate

Kushner family tells Chinese property investors: Welcome to America

Company responds to criticism for using ties to White House

The Kushner family held an event in Beijing, China, with the message, “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States,” according to an article by Emily Rauhala and William Wan for The Washington Post.

Curiously, this event, which was led by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law’s sister, was held just one day after the president signed H.R. 244 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, the spending bill that will keep the government running until September.

In all fairness, the proposal is an extensive 1,665 pages.

The event itself encouraged Chinese investors to do business with Kushner properties with the incentive of coming to the U.S. on a visa program given to those who spend at least $500,000 in property investment. Speakers encouraged the investors to look at a New Jersey luxury apartment complex.

The promotional materials for the event casually name-dropped Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser, promoting the highlighted speaker, Nicole Kushner Meyer, as his sister, according to the article.

When asked about the connection, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented simply, “I would refer you to the company on that.” He insisted Kushner has complied with all ethics rules by disassociating himself from the company.

A former White House ethics lawyer, however, disagrees.

From The Washington Post article:

“It’s incredibly stupid and highly inappropriate,” said Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer in President George W. Bush’s administration, who has become a vocal critic of the Trump administration. “They clearly imply that the Kushners are going to make sure you get your visa. . . . They’re [Chinese applicants] not going to take a chance. Of course they’re going to want to invest.”

However, Kushner Companies insisted it’s mention of the White House senior advisor was not meant to lure investors.

“The proposed One Journal Square project will provide $180 million in tax revenue for Jersey City over the next 30 years, more than 4,000 union construction jobs, and direct funding for a memorial plaza and local arts initiatives, among other benefits,” a company spokesman told HousingWire.

“In the course of discussing this project and the firm's history with potential investors, Ms. Meyer wanted to make clear that her brother had stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project,” the company continued. “Kushner Companies apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors. That was not Ms. Meyer's intention.”

A new proposal currently in Congress could soon raise the minimum investment for the EB-5, or investment, visa. The new bill, which was proposed a week before Trump’s inauguration, would raise the minimum investment amount from its current $500,000 in an area with high unemployment or a rural area to $1.35 million.

And this was exactly the point one investor made, saying, “Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules.”

As far as the attendees at the conference, they confirmed that part of the appeal was the event’s connection to the White House.

From the article:

At Saturday’s event, attendee Wang Yun, a Chinese investor, said the Kushner family’s ties to Trump were an obvious part of the project’s appeal.

“Even though this is the project of the son-in-law’s family, of course it is still affiliated,” Wang said.

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