The Real Deal New York

Kushner’s real estate activities raise potential
conflict-of-interest issues

Federal policies could help or harm his business

November 29, 2016 09:32AM

The White House and Jared Kushner

The White House and Jared Kushner

The president-elect apparently isn’t subject to conflict of interest laws, but his son-in-law could be.

If Jared Kushner TRData LogoTINY secures a White House staff position, his real estate and other business activities could pose potential conflict-of-interest issues, the Wall Street Journal reported. Kushner has hundreds of millions of dollars worth in outstanding loans and counts major foreign and domestic banks among financial partners.

Key policies, like EB-5, could potentially have a major impact on Kushner’s business. Kushner Companies, the firm he heads, used the federal program to help finance his Trump Bay Street rental tower in Jersey City. A key provision in the visa program, which allows foreigners to invest upwards of $500,000 in U.S. real estate projects in exchange for green cards, is set to expire in December. Though Trump hasn’t taken a formal position on the program, experts told The Real Deal during a panel earlier this month that EB-5 will thrive under the president-elect. Still, Congress has becoming increasingly critical of the program, and Trump will likely have to take a definitive position.

Kushner has considered placing his assets in a blind trust to avoid conflict-of-interest issues, but some legal experts say he would need to sell off the assets and then place the money in a trust.

“You can’t pretend you don’t own something just by putting it in a blind trust,” Richard Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, told the Journal. [WSJ]Kathryn Brenzel 

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