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In EB-5 hype (for Trump-branded tower), Jersey City gets inflated to NJ's capital and "Manhattan's Back Garden"

In the course of some research on EB-5 investor visas, I came across some glaring deception on the page of the New Jersey Regional Center, the private investment fund that has raised $50 million from green card-seeking Chinese millionaires for Trump Bay Street, the Trump-branded (but not developed) tower in Jersey City.

The tower, once known as 88 Kushner-KABR, is built by Kushner Companies, run by the president-elect's son-in-law Jared Kushner. Jesse Drucker of Bloomberg Politics last March pointed out the use of EB-5 funds.

OK, we know it's hypocritical for luxury towers to use EB-5, but that for now is industry practice, as Eliot Brown of the Wall Street Journal has described. That practice may be reformed when EB-5 is reauthorized next year.

Even so, I'm not sure how much impact Congress can have. After all, the push for profit leads to so much deception, and government agencies do too little to police it.


As shown in the graphic, potential investors were told that the capital of the state of New Jersey is Jersey City, with "nearly immediate access" to Manhattan. Perhaps New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose office is in the capital, Trenton, might want to correct that.

And would you believe that Jersey City is known "as Manhattan's Back Garden"? I didn't think so. Nor does Google. Well, maybe that's why EB-5 is a racket (and has been called "legalized crack cocaine").

The NJRC is one of the business wings of the U.S. Immigration Fund, run by Nicholas Mastroianni II, who Peter Elkind of Fortune in October 2014 described as perhaps the hottest money-raiser in EB-5, despite his questionable business record.

He's been used by Forest City Ratner and Greenland Forest City Partners for two rounds of questionable fund-raising for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, Atlantic Yards II and Atlantic Yards III.

Apparently his firm remains willing to push the envelope.

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