The Kushner family real estate company is reportedly in a bit of bind, searching high and low for a $250 million loan to pay back its Chinese investors, but finding that major banks are reluctant to do business with them as scandal swirls all around.
Last year, when Jared Kushner was still at the head of his family’s company, Kushner Companies used the controversial EB-5 visa program to fund about a quarter of its $194 million Trump-branded tower in New Jersey with money from wealthy Chinese investors.
The EB-5 program offers US visas and a path to American citizenship for foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in a project. Despite the fact that the program was originally intended to be used to fund developments in areas of high unemployment, Kushner Cos. has instead utilized it as a cheap way of funding their luxury residential projects with money from overseas investors, a move that is now beginning to draw more scrutiny with Jared Kushner’s senior advisor role in the White House.
Bloomberg reports that Kushner Cos. is now looking to pay back its Chinese investors in the 50-story Trump Bay Street project in Jersey City and is sending out feelers for a $250 million loan. According to a person familiar with negotiations, $200 million of that loan would go towards repaying investors and paying off mortgage on the building, while the company would keep the remaining $50 million.
However, the Kushners have found that major American banks are wary of giving a loan to their company, which has become immersed in scandal over the visa program and concerns of corruption. Last month, Jared Kushner’s sister was infamously caught invoking her brother’s name and White House connections to pitch wealthy investors in Beijing on another luxury residential project in New Jersey.
The pitch set off yet more worries about corruption inside the White House, particularly after it was reported that Donald Trump had extended the EB-5 program just a day before Kushner’s sister made her presentation in a Beijing ballroom. In response, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa has called for an investigation into the visa program and has introduced bipartisan legislation to end it.
Meanwhile, Kushner Cos. continues to also face problems with its flagship Fifth Avenue skyscraper which continues to bleed money. Back in March, the company hoped to rescue itself from the red through a deal with Anbang, a Chinese insurance company infamous for having murky ties to the families of top Chinese leaders. However, the implications of such a well-connected deal eventually became too much when exposed to the public, causing both sides to call off negotiations.
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