Reporters barred from Kushner Companies' visa-for-investment event in China

Nicole Meyer, Jared Kushner's sister, spent her Saturday in Beijing trying to secure investments for a building going up in Jersey City, and part of the sales pitch involved highlighting the Kushner family, which just so happens to be an integral part of the current administration.

"Mr. Kushner divested his interests in the One Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust that he is not a beneficiary of, a mechanism suggested by the Office of Government Ethics", said Blake Roberts, an attorney at WilmerHale advising Kushner on ethics issues. The brochure made note of the Kushner family's "celebrity" status, but did not mention the president specifically. Anyone looking at the current situation in which Nicole Meyer is traveling around China essentially selling U.S. immigration visas for $500,000 apiece in an effort to acquire $150 million would have to say that something was out of kilter.

The EB-5 visa has been used by the Trump and Kushner family businesses in the past.

Attendees were reassured by an American lawyer that despite his tough talk on immigration, Trump himself was a key decision-maker for EB-5 policy and was unlikely to make any changes to it in the near future - making it a safe path to United States residency.

"It's incredibly stupid and highly inappropriate", Painter said to The Washington Post.

Most investors were Chinese and were brought in by QWOS, the company said.

Jared Kushner's family business is courting wealthy Chinese to buy stakes in real estate through a controversial government programme that offers United States residency in exchange for investment. The visas are controversial, not only because it's essentially a way to buy citizenship, but because there have been numerous instances of fraud surrounding them.

Trump's son-in-law Kushner, who headed his family's real estate company until he agreed to serve in the White House, helped oversee the New Jersey luxury apartment project while managing the family's vast real estate holdings.

Journalists for both NYT and WaPo were kicked out of the presentation eventually.

The firm stressed that Jared Kushner "stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project", which it said would provide $180 million in tax revenue over 30 years.

One Chinese investor who attended the event, Wang Yun, told The Post: "Even though this is the project of the son-in-law's family, of course it is still affiliated".

Bi Ting, a 34-year-old woman who attended the Shanghai event, said having the name of the US president's son-in-law associated with it was "a bonus for the project".

Kushner has promised to recuse himself from any administration decisions about the future of the program, a spokesman said.

The event was organized by QWOS, a firm that assists Chinese citizens access USA green cards through investments.

The program is popular with some commercial real estate developers, who use it to raise funds for their projects, as NPR's Greg Allen has reported.

His relatives' embrace of the EB-5 program may also pose complications for Kushner.

"The whole thing may change later this year so we feel that there isn't much time left", he said.

There were also efforts at the event, hosted by the Chinese company Qiaowai, to limit access to the media. Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to stop them from giving interviews.

Asked why reporters were asked to leave, a PR person who declined to identify herself said simply, "This is not the story we want".

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