Thursday, February 03, 2011

FCR's Gilmartin slightly queasy about selling green cards, but not about misrepresentations made to potential investors

The New York Observer catches up on news that Forest City Ratner has been trying to raise $249 million by "letting foreigners basically buy green cards":
The new-old program came to light this fall, when it turned out that Atlantic Yards' developer Forest City Ratner was using the program to help finance its Atlantic Yards project. But even Forest City VP MaryAnne Gilmarten [sic] seems a little queasy about the program.

"As citizen Gilmarten, I'm not sure how I feel about it," Ms. Gilmarten said at a New York Commerical [sic] Real Estate Women event attended by The Observer a couple of months back. But she continued that with conventional financing channels frozen, the project might otherwise never get built. "This is not your cleaning lady's green card program," she said.
It's curious that Gilmartin--whose name the Observer couldn't get right--feels queasy about the fundamental nature of the program, which, however questionable, at least was a response to similar programs in countries like Canada and Australia.

Misrepresentations and omissions

After all, she apparently doesn't feel queasy about the misrepresentations and lies used to pitch the project to unwary potential investors.

And, despite her claim that the project might otherwise not get built, consider how the arena is front and center in project promotion.

An uninformed viewer might be convinced that, yes, they were being asked to invest in the arena. But the arena's already funded and state officials acknowledge that "There are sufficient funds committed to complete the arena and related improvements with or without EB-5 funds."

Why did the Observer ignore that? Or whether this investment would create jobs, as required under the EB-5 program?

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