In a Beijing Ballroom, Kushner Family Promotes $500,000 ‘Investor Visa’ to Wealthy Chinese

In Conflict of Interest, New York Times Editorial On
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The Kushner family came to the United States as refugees, worked hard and made it big — and if you invest in Kushner properties, so can you.

That was the message delivered Saturday by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s sister to a ballroom full of wealthy Chinese investors, renewing questions about the Kushner family’s business ties to China.

Over several hours of slide shows and presentations, representatives from the Kushner family business urged Chinese citizens gathered at the Ritz-Carlton hotel to consider investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a New Jersey real estate project to secure what’s known as an investor visa.

The EB-5 immigrant investor visa program, which allows foreign investors to invest in U.S. projects that create jobs and then apply to immigrate, has been used by both the Trump and Kushner family businesses.

But President Trump’s vow to crack down on immigration, as well as criticism from members of Congress, has led to questions about the future of a program known here as the “golden visa.”

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Trump Looms as Kushner Companies Courts Investors in China

SHANGHAI — Like many American firms that come to China looking for money, Kushner Companies tried to woo a Shanghai audience with promises of big returns and a path toward living in the United States.

But for Bi Ting, who attended the Kushner event on Sunday, part of the appeal was political: Jared Kushner is the son-in-law of — and a powerful adviser to — President Trump. Virtually unknown in China just months ago, he is now recognized here as a deeply influential figure in American politics.

“The Trump relationship is an extra point for me,” Ms. Bi said, adding that she and her husband had not decided whether to invest.

Kushner Companies’ China roadshow, promoting $500,000 investments in New Jersey real estate as the path to a residency card in the United States, moved to Shanghai on Sunday after a similar pitch on Saturday in Beijing. Security was tighter in Shanghai than it had been in Beijing, where reporters for The New York Times and The Washington Post briefly attended the event before being kicked out.

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Trump Acts, And Kushners Stand to Gain

WASHINGTON — It was the first major piece of legislation that President Trump signed into law, and buried on Page 734 was one sentence that brought a potential benefit to the president’s extended family: renewal of a program offering permanent residence in the United States to affluent foreigners investing money in real estate projects here.

Just hours after the appropriations measure was signed on Friday, the company run until January by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner, was urging wealthy Chinese in Beijing to consider investing $500,000 each in a pair of Jersey City luxury apartment towers the family-owned Kushner Companies plans to build. Mr. Kushner was even cited at a marketing presentation by his sister Nicole Meyer, who was on her way to China even before the bill was signed. The project “means a lot to me and my entire family,” she told the prospective investors.

The sequence of events offers one of the most explicit examples to date of the peril of the Trump and Kushner families maintaining close ties to their business interests and creates an impression they stand to profit off Mr. Trump’s presence in the White House. It also illustrates the problems of the so-called EB-5 visa program that prominent Republican and Democratic members of Congress want changed.

. . .

The Kushner project in Jersey City “is a textbook example of the abuses we have seen in the last six or seven years,” said Shae Armstrong, a Dallas lawyer who has joined with members of Congress, including Senators Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, and Ms. Feinstein, to call for changes in the program.

That part of Jersey City, less than three miles from Manhattan, is hardly an economically depressed area, and a luxury apartment building is going to create few permanent jobs. “And it is why other towns in rural America are not getting EB-5 money,” Mr. Armstrong said.

Indeed, in the Beijing presentation delivered by Mr. Kushner’s sister, the firm cited the high household income of the majority of the residents — between $100,000 and $200,000 — in the Trump-branded building that has already received EB-5 financing.

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The Kushners and Their Golden Visas

The Kushner family has been caught in a shameless act of name-dropping. It has been highlighting its White House connections to entice wealthy Chinese investors and promising them green cards in return under a special government visa program. That’s pretty bad. But it’s also a scandal that Congress allows real estate developers to use the American immigration system to pad their profits.

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Jersey City Mayor Balks at Tax Break for Kushners

The Democratic mayor of New Jersey’s second-largest city, who has had his ups-and-downs with the state’s volatile governor, Chris Christie, is now threatening to stymie luxury development dreams of the family of President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Steven Fulop, the mayor of Jersey City, went public on Sunday with his opposition to the Kushners’ request for hefty tax breaks for a pair of towers that would contain 1,500 luxury apartments. Mr. Fulop said in a posting on his Facebook page that his administration was “not supportive” of the abatement deal the developers sought.

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Kushners Back Out of Chinese Investor Events

BEIJING — The real estate company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Trump, said on Friday that its employees would no longer take part in a cross-country roadshow in China this month.

Executives from Kushner Companies, including Nicole Meyer, Mr. Kushner’s sister, were expected to appear in the southern cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou and the central city of Wuhan this month, according to ads for the events.

But after an uproar, the company and its Chinese partner said on Friday that Kushner Companies would no longer be present at those events, although it will continue to actively court investors.

The company is seeking $150 million in financing for a New Jersey housing development through a program that gives foreigners who invest at least $500,000 a shot at green cards, which allow permanent residence in the United States. The overall sum represents about 15 percent of the total cost of the property project.

But the effort to raise money in China drew widespread criticism, with ethics experts saying it presented a conflict of interest. Mr. Kushner continues to benefit from a stake in his family’s real estate business and other investments worth as much as $600 million.

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