Speaking in a ballroom, Ms. Meyer said the project “means a lot to me and my entire family.” She mentioned her brother’s service as chief executive of Kushner Companies, the family business from which he resigned in January, saying he had left to serve in the Trump administration.
The project was advertised to Chinese investors as the latest offering from the “star Kushner real estate family.” The project, which includes two towers, 1,476 luxury apartments and even a medical center for pets, was promoted as “Kushner 1.” Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2018.
Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, declined to comment.
Mr. Kushner, who is married to Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, has become a central voice on China, serving as a conduit between Beijing and Washington.
As a businessman, he courted Chinese firms, most notably Anbang Insurance Group, the financial firm linked to members of the country’s ruling Communist Party. In March, Kushner Companies said it had ended talks with Anbang for an investment in its headquarters at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The potential deal raised eyebrows because of its favorable terms for the Kushners, who are seeking help with the troubled property.
Even as Mr. Kushner seeks to keep a distance from the family business in his new role, his persistent ties to the company have come under scrutiny.
He remains the beneficiary of a series of trusts that own his stakes in Kushner Companies properties and other investments, worth as much as $600 million, and probably more. Since his move into politics, he has divested his stakes in dozens of other entities used to hold the investments, although he has held on to the vast majority.
Mr. Kushner’s government ethics disclosure form shows he was a manager or president at six entities associated with the Jersey City project until January. He divested his stake in one of them, K One Journal Square LLC, in January. It is unclear what happened with the other entities.
“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 Mr. Kushner on ethics issues. “He will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa program.”
His relatives’ embrace of the EB-5 program may also pose complications for Mr. Kushner. The program has been labeled “U.S. citizenship for sale,” and it has come under scrutiny after a series of fraud and abuse scandals. Watchdogs have noted the program’s lax safeguards against illicit sources of money.
Government ethics experts have criticized Mr. Kushner for retaining an interest in the business, given his broad White House portfolio, which could affect his financial position. The company has declined to make public a complete list of its partners and lenders.
Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal nonprofit group, said the sales pitch by Kushner Companies in China was “highly problematic” and could be interpreted as selling access to Mr. Kushner. He called on Mr. Kushner to recuse himself from any decisions related to the EB-5 program.
Lawmakers are considering major changes to the program, through which investors, mostly from mainland China, receive about 10,000 visas each year. Some critics have urged the government to abolish it entirely.
The program provides a cheap source of financing to developers, since investors are generally not looking for high returns, only a green card. Mr. Kushner raised about $50 million from Chinese investors for a different project in Jersey City, a Trump-branded luxury apartment tower that opened in November.
Kushner Companies has declined to identify the investors it found through the program.
On Saturday, Ms. Meyer talked about how family values had shaped Kushner Companies. She spoke of her grandparents, who survived the Holocaust, and about her father, Charles Kushner, who founded the company in 1985. He later spent time in prison for illegal campaign donations, tax evasion and witness tampering.
“As children we would spend our Sundays visiting properties with my father and staying up late through the night, by his side, when closing an acquisition,” Ms. Meyer said. “Our father taught us about respect for our partners, hard work, dedication and most importantly, perseverance.”
As Ms. Meyer spoke, journalists for The New York Times and The Washington Post were removed from the ballroom and told by organizers that it was a “private event,” even though it had been publicly advertised. The event was hosted by Qiaowai, a Chinese immigration agency that helps Chinese families move abroad. Ms. Meyer is scheduled to appear in several other Chinese cities in the coming days.
Ms. Meyer was asked after the event whether she was concerned about possible conflicts of interest facing her brother, but she did not respond. A man accompanying her, growing angry, shouted, “Please leave us alone!”
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