Controversy Forcing Investors To Keep The Trump Organization, Kushner Cos. At Arm's Length
President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, have been unable to shake off reports of conflicts of interest since before Trump won the 2016 election. Now, with both The Trump Organization and Kushner Cos. accused of using family ties to attract business, a growing number of investors are reconsidering doing deals with the companies, Bloomberg reports.
Trump announced shortly before his inauguration that he would not place his assets in a blind trust or fully divest his assets while in office. Kushner has mostly followed in his father-in-law's footsteps, although he has divested from WiredScore. Since Trump took office, his son Eric denied claims in a Vanity Fair article claiming that he boasted about the Trump Organization's access to $100M in Russian money to develop golf courses.
Flooding headlines more recently was the controversy with Kushner Cos.' Nicole Meyer, who highlighted Kushner's White House pedigree and the EB-5 immigration program in a business pitch to Chinese investors earlier this month, a move for which Kushner Cos. apologized.
With the ongoing investigation into collusion allegations between Trump campaign staffers and Russian officials, a handful of deals that the Trump Organization and Kushner Cos. had in place have crumbled. A Trump deal for a Scion hotel in downtown Dallas fell apart after it was revealed that Trump's partner, Turkish investor Mukemmel "Mike" Sarimsakci, had a checkered business history and a tangle of foreign ties. Kushner Cos. has fared worse. Anbang pulled out of a planned $7.5B redevelopment of 666 Fifth Ave. in March. Kushner Cos. Jersey City development, called Journal Square, lost WeWork as a tenant and city support after Meyer's China trip led to Chinese investors backing off. Kushner Cos. dropped plans to buy a 95-acre industrial site it planned to redevelop into housing for Orthodox Jewish families being priced out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Duke University professor James Cox said that the Trump administration's inability to stay away from scandal, and its historic unpopularity, is forcing the hands of investors that might otherwise do business with the Trump Organization and Kushner Cos.