The CIM Group, one of New York’s most active real estate investors, has a reputation for quietly operating behind the scenes. But recently its involvement with Kushner Companies and the Trump Organization thrust the Los Angeles-based private fund manager into the spotlight.
On Thursday WNYC radio ran a segment on the company that featured The Real Deal reporter Konrad Putzier. “CIM stands out as being very secretive,” Putzier told WNYC’s Ilya Marritz. “The fact that we don’t even know what CIM stands for says it all.”
Sources told WNYC that even some executives at the company don’t know the meaning of the name.
CIM burst onto the New York City real estate scene in 2010 to partner with Harry Macklowe on the condominium skyscraper project 432 Park Avenue and invest in a handful of Sapir Organization properties, including 11 Madison Avenue and the Trump Soho project.
“There was a short window of opportunity that they just seized,” said The Real Deal’s Putzier. The company also partnered with Kushner on a number of deals, most recently on the acquisition of the Watchtower complex in Dumbo.
But now their involvement with two firms tied to the White House raises the potential for conflicts of interest, for example when it comes to infrastructure procurement.
“Whether the parties are doing something untoward or not, the situation creates doubt, and it will follow the President throughout his term as long as he owns his business,” Jordan Libowitz of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, told WNYC. “It’s a question we shouldn’t be having to ask.”