Presidential senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner is taking heat after his sister pointed out to potential partners in China that an investment of $500,000 or more in the Kushner Companies' One Journal Square project in Jersey City, N.J., could grease the skids for permanent residency in the USA under the EB-5 visa program.
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.
While both deny that they are personally benefitting from their ties to the president, The New York Times reports that Kushner's sister told Chinese investors at a hotel conference in Beijing on Saturday that investing thousands of dollars in Kushner Companies can gain Chinese investors a US visa.
Marketing materials for the event last week promoted Nicole Kushner Meyer as Jared's sister, and cited the Kushner family's "celebrity" status.
Kushner Companies later distanced itself from the photo.
Over several hours of presentations and PowerPoints, company executives described the advantages of the controversial EB-5 program, which provides big foreign investors with United States visas and a path to residence for the cost of just a half-million dollars.
A similar meeting was held in Shanghai on Sunday.
"Senator Schumer strongly supports bipartisan legislation that would crack down on fraud, abuse, and improper influence within the EB-5 program", said Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer.
One potential investor, Sophie Xing, said a "very important" factor in her decision to attend Sunday's event was the fact the project was a Kushner Companies investment and that Trump's son-in-law's sister would be in Shanghai.
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Jared Kushner is the son-in-law of President Donald Trump and a prominent White House adviser.
The Washington Post, however, while reported that the event in Beijing was held with a message that the Kushner family came to the USA as refugees, worked hard and made it big and if you invest in Kushner properties, so can you.
Kushner's personal attorney, Blake Roberts of the WilmerHale law firm, said in a statement that Kushner has "no involvement" in the operation of the Kushner Companies. US lawmakers have been weighing proposed changes to the program, which would likely affect companies such as Kushner Cos. should it want to raise funds from such investors.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: In a ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Beijing, Nicole Kushner Meyer made a presentation to potential investors.
Jared Kushner has stepped away from the business since taking a key role in Trump's White House. The minimum investment requirement is $1 million, unless the project is in a rural area or high-unemployment area.
If the Trump administration sees it through, lawmakers would have an opportunity to see the effects before taking any further legislative action. Immigrants may get a green card if they invest $500,000 or more in a project that creates jobs in the United States.
"Given that President Trump and Jared Kushner refuse to divest from their vast financial holdings, the only way to eliminate this conflict is for Congress to allow the program to expire in September".
EB-5 investment from China will account for around 15 percent of its total cost of US$976.4 million. They were told by organizers that it was a "private event", despite it being publicly advertised.