U.S. Senator urges Dept. of Homeland Security to probe One Journal Square affiliates

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U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is calling on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission, to investigate potentially fraudulent claims made by affiliates of the One Journal Square project.

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law, back when he was the President and CEO of Kushner Companies and breaking ground at Trump Bay Street in Jersey City. Screenshot via Jersey City TV.
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, back when he was the President and CEO of Kushner Companies and breaking ground at Trump Bay Street in Jersey City on May 14, 2014. Screenshot via Jersey City TV.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I am writing to request a review of potentially fraudulent statements and misrepresentations by Qiaowai Group, a Chinese company, and a second private company that calls itself the ‘U.S. Immigration Fund,’” Grassley wrote in a May 24th letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

“Both are involved in the development of One Journal Square in Jersey City, New Jersey, promoting the project to potential investors who seek to immigrate to the U.S. through the EB-5 investor visa program.”

Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, goes on to say that while the exact roles of the two companies are undefined, they “both appear to be acting as a broker-dealer or agent for developers.”

Earlier this month, Nicole Meyer, Jared Kushner’s sister and the current president and CEO of Kushner Companies, went to China to make a pitch seeking $150 million to finance the One Journal Square project (h/t New York Times).

The pitch reportedly included offering investors a green card through a controversial EB-5 program in exchange for a $500,000 investment into the project.

“While Qiaowai has been marketing One Journal Square as a sure thing that cannot fail, the U.S. Immigration Fund has been fighting a rear-guard action in D.C., to prevent much needed reforms of the EB-5 program,” Grassley’s letter also says.

“‘According to one report, the Fund “was at the forefront of efforts to stop an overhaul of the EB-5 program in 2015 and 2016,’” contributing close to one million dollars to lobbying efforts.”

Shortly after news broke that Meyer went to China to secure funding for the One Journal Square initiative, Hudson County View first reported that Jersey City Mayor Fulop came out against the tax abatement proposal for the project.

“I know for certain I have made my feelings clear here on this project and what I feel works best for Jersey City. This tax abatement application doesn’t work for us,” he posted on Facebook at the time.

The Jersey City Council is yet to be presented with a tax abatement plan for One Journal Square project, a $400 million, two-tower project which is a joint effort between Kushner Companies and the KABR Group.

Jared Kushner, now the senior aide to President Donald Trump (R), as well as his son-in-law, is the former President and CEO of Kushner Companies and was still a part of the company when they broke ground at Trump Bay Street in May 2014.

“We do plan to spend a lot more time here because we think this is a city on the rise, so much positive momentum from where things are going here, we really are excited to be a part of it,” he said at the 2014 groundbreaking, also thanking Fulop for “being a big advocate for development and for growth.”

At the same event, Fulop told the crowd that he and Kushner have “been able to develop a really terrific friendship,” but that has obviously soured due to the controversy surrounding Trump’s White House and One Journal Square.

Kushner has also recently made headlines since the FBI is investigating his previous communications with Russian leaders.