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The EB-5 racket: Jared Kushner's connect says projects don't need the money (so investor visas = profit)

I have an essay in City Limits, Emerging Kushner Deal Suggests What’s Wrong With U.S. Investor Visa Program, about how an emerging deal involving Jared Kushner's family real state firm and a politically connected Chinese company illustrates what's wrong with the EB-5 investor visa program, which purportedly would be used to raise cheap capital.

Below is an excerpt, plus video (that wasn't embedded) on the City Limits page.

It contains a damning admission about EB-5 by the Nicholas Mastroianni II, he of the "checkered past" (as documented by Fortune's Peter Elkind), who happens to be the hottest money-raiser in the world of investor visas and Jared Kushner's past EB-5 connect: the projects he works on don't need the money. Which confirms that EB-5 is a racket.

From the article

IIUSA: EB-5 creates jobs "at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer."
This wouldn't be the first Kushner EB-5 project. The Trump Bay Street luxury apartment tower in Jersey City, NJ, used $50 million in EB-5 funds, about a quarter of the total budget, to lower construction costs. Queried last March by Bloomberg, a Kushner spokeswoman, echoing industry rhetoric, said the project was legal and created jobs. 

But EB-5 job-creation claims are often as bogus as a Trump University diploma--and there's new proof. While EB-5 proponents tell Congress that the investments create jobs "at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer," they talk more candidly among themselves.

Consider the damning admission by Nicholas Mastroianni II, who raised funds for Kushner's Trump-branded tower and heads the U.S. Immigration Fund, Gargano's employer. Last November, when asked at a panel in Shanghai how EB-5 could escape allegations of fraud--after some high-profile scams and scandals--Mastroianni advised picking the right project.



"Projects that don't typically need the capital are the projects that we look to lend money on," he stated at the session, sponsored by The Real Deal. "If a project can't be developed without the EB-5 capital, it's not a project that you should be looking to invest in, because you've got a desperate situation."

That disclosure was dynamite, though not to his audience. After all, if Mastroianni-funded developments like Trump Bay Street, 701 Times Square in Manhattan, and Pacific Park don't need EB-5 loans, the program has no reason to exist. It just trades visas for profits. Public assets produce no public benefit.

For the rest of the article, click here.

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