- Kushner Companies is closing in on a major deal with a company tied to the government of Qatar to save its financially imperiled Manhattan tower.
- If the bailout is finalised, it will likely raise concerns about Jared Kushner’s work as the White House lead on Middle East policy.
- This comes amid reports that the president’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, solicited $US1 million from the government of Qatar in 2016 for access and insight into the Trump administration.
Jared and Charles Kushner’s $US1.8 billion purchase in 2007 of 666 Fifth Avenue, a 41-story tower in midtown Manhattan, has long been ridiculed in New York real estate circles as a reckless move.
Indeed, the office building has faced financial struggles for years – today it brings in only half of its annual mortgage fees and 30% of its space is empty, according to The New York Times.
But Kushner Companies – the real estate firm owned by Jared, the president’s son-in-law and top White House adviser, and his father Charles – are closing in on a game-changing bailout from a company whose second-largest shareholder is the government of Qatar, The Times reported Thursday.
The company, Brookfield Properties, has worked hand-in-hand with the Gulf country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, on several major US building projects, including Manhattan West, a retail and residential complex currently under construction.
Jared, who remains a stakeholder in his family business despite leaving it to work in the White House (where he leads Middle East policy), lost his top-secret security clearance in February amid concerns that he is vulnerable to foreign influence as a result of his business dealings.
If this deal is finalised, it will likely raise new concerns about Jared’s potential conflicts of interest.
The midtown tower attracted attention in late 2016, when the Kushners neared a different deal with a Chinese insurance company and a Qatar billionaire. That deal fell apart amid criticism of Jared’s dual political and business roles.
Brookfield plans to take control of the building’s operation, and will spend hundreds of millions of dollars renovating it.
This comes amid multiple reports that the president’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, solicited $US1 million from the government of Qatar in late 2016 for access and insight into President Donald Trump’s administration.
(Multiple companies, including AT&T, Novartis, and a financial firm with ties to a Russian oligarch, have confirmed recent reports that they paid Cohen hundreds of thousands of dollars for insight into the Trump administration).
Cohen is currently under investigation by both special counsel Robert Mueller and the US attorney for the Southern District of New York.
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