For Kushner family, controversial visa program is big business
- Author: Leroy Wright May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 3:46
The visa allows principal investors and their immediate family members to live and work legally in the U.S.in exchange for a minimum investment of $500,000 in a commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 permanent full-time jobs.
The event was organized by Beijing-based immigration services company QWOS and Kushner Companies, according to an advertisement on the Chinese company's website, which says the project is seeking $150 million from 300 EB-5 investors.
The New York Times and The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Kushner's sister, Nicole Meyer, touted access to her brother and support from Trump during a presentation in Beijing while seeing investors for a luxury apartment building in New Jersey being built by Kushner Properties.
Investor visas have been highly criticized. She mentioned her grandparents who survived the Holocaust, and also how her father, Charles Kushner, founded the company in 1985.
However, eyebrows have been raised as the Chinese investment sought by his family is to be funnelled through the US EB-5 visa programme.
Organisers yesterday barred journalists from a publicity event in Shanghai for a two-tower luxury apartment complex in New Jersey.
"As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa programme".
Kushner Companies however, in an email to the Post Sunday, said it "apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors".
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. Bloomberg reported a year ago that Kusher Companies raised $50 million for the Jersey City project from the controversial EB-5 program. Public relations representatives told the Washington Post that their presence threatened the "stability" of the event and that they didn't want reporters talking to anybody because: "This is not the story we want". She also spoke about her father, Charles Kushner, the company founder who spent time in prison for illegal campaign donations, tax evasion and witness tampering. The program - known to some as the "golden visa" - has been criticized by some members of Congress for allowing people to essentially buy USA citizenship. Kushner resigned as CEO from his family's real estate company in January, ahead of joining the White House staff.
When asked about the connection, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented simply, "I would refer you to the company on that".
Kushner divested from the New Jersey protect and the Kushner Companies, the website said. "Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to prevent them from giving interviews".
KEITH: The Kushner family's attention-grabbing pitch meeting came just a day after President Trump signed a government funding bill that again reauthorized the EB-5 program without addressing any of the senator's concerns.
KEITH: Steve Park is a partner at the law firm Ballard Spahr and specializes in the EB-5 program, working on both real estate projects and even with some manufacturers.