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EB-5 and the Nassau Coliseum: a new lease, and a reminder of deception

From Newsday 11/20/20, New Coliseum leaseholder gets break on rent:
The new leaseholder, Nassau Live Center LLC, headed by Nick Mastroianni II, has not paid rent since taking over in August after Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov had shuttered the building and walked away from $100 million in debt.

Mastroianni was next in line to take control of the lease because he had orchestrated the loan for the Coliseum’s 2015 renovation.

Well, I'm pretty sure the 200 immigrant investors own the company holding the lease, but it's managed and controlled by Mastroianni, who runs the biggest and busiest "regional center"--a middleman loan packager for EB-5 investors--in the country. 

Well, 200 immigrant investors offered the loan, but it's not clear why Mastroianni would take over the debt. He served as manager of the company offering the loan, and also runs the biggest and busiest "regional center"--a middleman loan packager for EB-5 investors--in the country. If he gets the lease, it's because he now controls the loan--nice work for someone who put no money up. (Updated 12/1/20.)

The "U.S." dodge

Also from Newsday:

Mastroianni's Jupiter, Fla.-based company, U.S. Immigration Fund, raised $100 million from 200 Chinese investors through a federal program that provides visas in exchange for financing job-creating projects in the United States.

USIF is not affiliated with the federal government.
Anyone who's covered EB-5 knows that regional centers use names, as I wrote in 2012, that attempt to "convey to unwary investors the patina of officialdom," even though they're private companies.

Interestingly, Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the trade group for regional centers, now says that using "U.S." in a name goes against best practices.

That's an upgrade from the group's 2013 best practices, which more narrowly said, "No regional center can express or imply endorsement by IIUSA or USCIS." 

(The latter is the federal agency that oversees EB-5, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.)

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