Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kushner Keeps 90% of Real Estate Holdings

Trump’s son-in-law and powerful White House Aide Jared Kushner has kept close to 90% of his Real Estate Holdings even though he Resigned earlier this year as CEO of his family's Eeal Estate Development company. Not only does that Account for the lion's share of his Wealth before stepping into his White House role, the potential conflicts of Interest that reside inside the Holdings are also extremely murky.

The value of his retained Real Estate interests is between $132 million and $407 million and could leave him in a position to Financially benefit from his family’s business. He holds shares in the new D.C. Trump Hotel.

Kushner’s Form lists hundreds of Private companies. Some of the Investments he kept are held by Shell companies that are virtually impossible to track, and Kushner has declined to make public more information on those entities.

“Right now, the only thing that the public has is the assurances from the White House that everybody is complying with ethics rules,” said Don Fox, a former General Counsel of the Office of Government Ethics.

But one deal Kushner did divest from has also caught the eye of Ethics observers, precisely because it recently drew headlines over concern that his sister was trying to cash in on her brother's Access. His decision to divest from one of the Jersey City projects, One Journal Square, gained attention this month after his sister appeared at a conference in China promoting the use of a Special U.S. Visa program to lure Investors for the development and publicly noting her brother’s connection to the President. The White House said Kushner had recused himself from discussions of the EB-5 Visa program.

It was a particularly strange move because the luxury high-rise apartment building was one of two towers being developed in tandem with each other with an adjoining crosswalk. Kushner kept his share of up to $5 million in 30 Journal Square, One Journal's sister tower.

When asked why Kushner sold his investment in One Journal Square but kept 30 Journal Square, his Attorneys issued a statement: “30 Journal Square is a separate project that did not pose the same complexities, including EB-5 financing, as One Journal Square.”

Kushner's Attorneys have likewise claimed that Kushner specifically chose what to shed from his holdings based on “simplicity” and whether the holdings posed major entanglements. But we'll just have to take their word for it since most of those holdings reside in privately-held Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) that are extremely opaque compared to Publicly Traded companies.

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