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Kushner Companies apologizes for Journal Square project pitch to Chinese investors
May 25 2017, 08:49 | Perry Erickson
The family company issued a statement apologizing on behalf of Meyer if "mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors".
Kushner Companies on Monday said that it didn't mean to mention Jared Kushner's role in the Trump administration in order to reel in Chinese investors to help fund a development in New Jersey. A 2013 Homeland Security Department investigation cited risks that Iranian intelligence operatives may have exploited the program, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services found numerous fraudulent documents when it audited a sampling of investors' green card applications.
At the event, Emily Rauhala, a Beijing-based correspondent for the Washington Post, was seated apart from her colleague, who faced similar resistance from the hosts. Last year, Bloomberg reported that Jared Kushner, as chief executive of his family's real estate company at the time, managed to raise $50 million for a fifty-story Trump-branded luxury rental complex in Jersey City through the EB-5 program. "That was not Ms Meyer's intention".
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.
Critics have blasted the Kushner Companies' sales pitches in China, saying they are a new example of how the Trump administration is using its position to boost its business interests.
Kushner's sister Nicole Meyer promoted One Journal Square, a Kushner Companies' development in Jersey City, at an event Sunday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai, according to participants.
Kushner's mother and siblings are beneficiaries of that family trust, a White House official confirmed.
The White House said Monday that it is "evaluating wholesale reform" of the program along with Congress to ensure it is "used as intended and that investment is being spread to all areas of the country".
Though Meyer's presentation stopped short of claiming outright that Kushner Companies has special access and privilege to the White House, the Chinese are well accustomed to seeing the children of their own political elites harboring considerable political influence and power.
"The whole thing may change later this year so we feel that there isn't much time left", he said.
Attorney Blake Roberts at WilmerHale, which is Kushner's personal counsel, says his firm's client has no involvement in the project being pitched by his sister.
While Trump wasn't mentioned by name, his photo was featured at the event as a "key decision maker" on visas. Kushner has said he'll recuse himself from dealing with the EB-5 plan.
The programme designates private entities including property developers as "regional centres", which are expected to create jobs with the projects they undertake with money they collect from foreign investors.
The White House has indicated some willingness to follow through on the Obama-era proposals, which some in the real estate industry say are too drastic and could bring investments in the program to a trickle.
The disturbing events also shed light on Trump's own conflicts when it comes to USA visa programs like EB-5.
The visa program has been wreaked with criticism for the way it's been administered.