Sunday, April 19, 2015

Who knew? CUNY's York College has an EB-5 "program"

I'm catching up on a lot of news related to the EB-5 program, which has helped the developers of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park raise $477 million in cheap capital, with another $100 million to go. Perhaps the clearest summary of the lure and sketchiness of the program came in a February 2012 quote from an EB-5 fundraiser to The Daily:“It’s just a way of being able to get free money, basically, to build all sorts of projects.”

From a 3/28/13 news release from then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, announcing the 2013-14 state budget:
To support the development of small businesses... $150,000 is provided for the creation of a new EB-5 Immigrant-Owned Business Program at CUNY's York College.
From the Summer 2013 newsletter of Assemblyman William Scarborough, the Queens legislator who chairs the Assembly Committee on Small Business (and was re-elected last year after being indicted):
I was pleased to be able to secure a $150,000 grant in the 2013 budget for the York College Small Business Development Center to create an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program to stimulate job creation in the Queens community. Under the EB-5 Program, foreign investors who invest at least $500,000 in local businesses or create at least 10 new jobs, are given visas to reside in the United States.
(Emphasis)

The nomenclature there is a more than a little fuzzy. The "program," such as it is, already exists. Either direct investments or pooled investments must be organized to meet the requirements of the program, the latter through what's known as a regional center.

And the requirement is to invest $500,000 and (not or) create--at least on paper ten jobs.

The York College web site does not indicate whether any projects have actually been launched. I suspect that $150,000 can only buy fractional EB-5 progress; it's surely not enough to get a regional center started. Right now the web site contains only basic, boilerplate information.


No comments:

Post a Comment