Monday, August 11, 2014

Touting success with immigrant investors, NYC Regional Center (still) deceptively claims EB-5 money helped build Barclays Center

Would you believe that the New York City Regional Center (NYCRC), which raised $228 million for Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project in 2010 from 456 immigrant investors seeking green cards for themselves and their families (through the "dodgy" EB-5 program), is still not telling the truth.

Note that the press release at bottom, as well as the NYCRC's web site, below, states that the low-interest loan from immigrant investors "assisted with the construction of specific components of the overall development, examples of which included: the Barclays Center Arena..."

Except Reuters reported in December 2010 that a South Korean migration agent, Kookmin, working on behalf of the NYCRC not only guaranteed investors their permanent green but "also implied the investors would be financing the construction of the new home for the New Jersey Nets NBA basketball team."

Reuters got George Olsen, a NYCRC managing principal, to acknowledge that "the claims were 'not accurate' - the investors will finance the rebuilding of a rail yard and some related infrastructure near the new basketball court -- and promised he would jump on Kookmin 'with two feet.'"

However, as I wrote on Huffington Post, the deceptive statements highlighted by Reuters and explained away by Olsen have been made by the NYCRC's own principals in a project video and by the NCYRC's point man in China, Gregg D. Hayden, during investment seminars and webcasts there. (Hayden is now NYCRC's General Manager - Asia/Europe.

(Forest City Ratner and its new Chinese government -owned partner on Atlantic Yards, Greenland Holdings, have apparently raised another $249 million in low-cost capital, again through deceptive means, though using a different regional center, which is a private sector entity federall authorized to raise such funds.)

From the NYCRC web site
From the NYCRC web site
The press release

The press release from the NYCRC, I-829 Petition Approvals in the Brooklyn Arena and Transportation Infrastructure Project, is subtitled "USCIS issues I-829 petition approvals to EB-5 investors in NYCRC's Brooklyn Arena and Transportation Infrastructure Project":
NEW YORK, Aug. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The New York City Regional Center ("NYCRC") (www.nycrc.com) is pleased to announce that the United States Citizenship Immigration Services ("USCIS") has issued the first twenty I-829 petition approvals to EB-5 investors participating in the NYCRC's Brooklyn Arena and Transportation Infrastructure Project. The issuance of the I-829 petition approval removes the conditional status and deems the investor to be a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Permanent residence permits EB-5 investors to live and work anywhere in the United States, and be protected by the laws of the United States. An investor's spouse and children are also authorized to live, work and attend school anywhere in the United States.
USCIS approved the Brooklyn Arena and Transportation Infrastructure Project as a permissible EB-5 project on September 23, 2010. To date, all 456 EB-5 investors in the offering have received I-526 petition approvals from USCIS. Moreover, the federal government has issued 1,325 conditional green cards to investors and family members.

"The issuance of these I-829 petition approvals in the Brooklyn Arena and Transportation Infrastructure Project is another milestone for the NYCRC. These new approvals will add to the over 500 individuals who have already received permanent residency through NYCRC projects," said NYCRC Managing Principal Paul Levinsohn.
"The NYCRC is helping to spur job creation and economic development throughout New York City while also assisting families begin a new life in America. We look forward to continuing our track record of well-structured, professional EB-5 offerings. We send our congratulations to these investors," added NYCRC Managing Principal George L. Olsen.
The Brooklyn Arena and Transportation Infrastructure Project involved the construction of specific components of Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards development. EB-5 capital was loaned to an affiliate of Forest City Enterprises (NYSE: FCE.A, FCE.B), the real estate company designated by the State of New York to oversee the Atlantic Yards development. The loan assisted with the construction of specific components of the overall development, examples of which included: the Barclays Center Arena; a new subway station entrance within 100 feet of the arena; an outdoor public plaza outside the arena; the demolition and reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue Bridge; an on-grade parking facility; and the excavation, removal, rerouting, and upgrading of water and sewer lines.
The NYCRC was approved by USCIS in 2008 to secure EB-5 investment in real estate projects within Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. The NYCRC was the first regional center approved in New York City. The NYCRC works in conjunction with the government and designated developers to fund critical economic development projects in New York City.

The NYCRC has become an important contributor to New York City's economic revitalization by helping to fund a series of public/private real estate projects that create much needed jobs. NYCRC projects include EB-5 funding to assist with the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York City's largest industrial park, as well as funding to assist with the expansion of Steiner Studios, the city's largest film and television production facility. The NYCRC has also provided capital for key components of the Atlantic Yards project as well as the redevelopment of Downtown Brooklyn's central business district. NYCRC funding is being used to assist with the redevelopment of the George Washington Bridge Bus Station and the continuing efforts to revitalize Lower Manhattan's waterfront and the Bronx and Washington Heights business corridors. The NYCRC will also provide capital to assist with the construction of a wireless infrastructure network in select New York City underground subway stations.

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