The sister of White House aide Jared Kushner leveraged her brother's name in a sales pitch to Chinese investors, on behalf of the family's real estate venture.
The investment would be faciliated via the EB-5 immigrant visa program, which offers citizens of other countries the chance to immigrate to the United States, provided they invest at least USD500,000 American development projects, according to the New York Times.
While Nicole Kushner Meyer mentioned her brother and his connection to the new USA administration, Jared Kushner has, according to his lawyer, separated himself from the family business and divested his interests in accordance with the suggestions of the Office of Government Ethics.
The firm stressed that Jared Kushner "stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project", which it said would provide $180 million in tax revenue over 30 years.
This prospective luxury apartment building is One Journal Square (and thus near to a commuter rail station leading to both Wall Street and mid-town Manhattan) and is not to be confused with Trump Bay Street, an earlier Jersey City Kushner development that used the Trump name under a licensing agreement.
EB-5 investment from China will account for around 15 percent of its total US$976.4 million cost.
Meyer told a crowd of more than 100 potential investors in Shanghai yesterday that her grandfather had come to the USA as a poor refugee, working as a carpenter before building up a real estate empire. It was extended over the weekend when President Trump signed wide-ranging legislation to keep the government running.
Similar events will be held at the InterContinental in Shenzhen on May 13 and the Four Seasons in Guangzhou on May 14, it said.
"Chinese people are pretty affluent now", said Stella Guo, a marketing director at CanAchieve Consultants, which helps Chinese clients obtain visas under the EB-5 program.
Almost 90 percent of EB-5 visas were issued to Chinese nationals in 2014, when the program reached its quota of 10,000 visas. The Visa program was created in 1990 for Job creation and capital investments which has however been misused since these were put up for sale.
Trump, who advocates restrictive immigration policies, extended the EB-5 investor program without long-promised reforms as part of a massive federal spending bill. He's a correspondent for The Washington Post, and he's been reporting on this whole issue stateside.
Kushner Companies appears to have learned their lesson from Saturday's event.
Watchdogs and ethics experts yesterday criticised the Beijing event as an attempt to cash in on Kushner's newfound proximity to power, it said. The program was created in the 1990s to boost jobs in areas that are rural or have high unemployment. While records show he at least partially divested from this particular project, and an attorney said Kushner would recuse himself from official decisions about the EB-5 visa, Kushner still can profit from his family's real estate company.
Michael Short, a White House spokesman, said in an email in mid-April that the EB-5 program needs "substantial fix".