Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of GreenTech Automotive, brought Stephen Yale-Loehr, one of the country’s leading legal experts on the EB-5 foreign national investment and immigration program, to a meeting with a senior Obama administration official at the White House in October 2010. The meeting came just months after a DHS official blocked the company’s efforts to secure visas for foreign investors.
The McAuliffe campaign confirmed to Richmond television station NBC12 on Thursday that McAuliffe attended the White House meeting with Obama aide Greg Nelson, now the White House chief of staff for the National Economic Council, along with GreenTech Automotive executive Gary Yi Tang, Northwestern University economist Michael Evans, and Yale-Loehr, an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School and co-author of a widely used law school textbook on immigration law.
McAuliffe spokeseperson Josh Schwerin tried to paint the White House meeting as merely “informational” in nature, but the presence of Yale-Loehr, a high powered immigration law expert, belies that explanation.
Schwerin told NBC12 that “Terry’s recollection of the meeting was that it was an informational meeting to hear about the administration’s plans for manufacturing in America and share progress of the company.” At the time of the October 2010 White House meeting, McAuliffe had been chairman and 25% owner of GreenTech Automotive, a startup manufacturer of electric vehicles whose financial plan relied, in part, on participation by foreign national investors in the EB-5 program, for seven months.
A July 2010 decision by the California regional director of the USCIS determined that the EB-5 financing mechanism used by GreenTech was “impermissible” stopped a 2009 Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) that sought to raise $50 million after only $7.5 million had been raised. At the time the company had no apparent source of revenue, no additional sources of equity capital, and had not yet been approved for a $5 million loan package from the state of Mississippi. The company had a monthly cash burn rate that included salaries for executives and travel to China.
GreenTech and its sister company, Gulf Coast Funds Regional Management (whose CEO is Tony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton), filed an appeal with the USCIS Administrative Appeal Office (AAO) during 2010 on this and other EB-5 matters, apparently with the help of Yale-Loehr. That appeal process was expected to take several months to a year before the final decision would be known. McAuliffe was impatient to start raising money sooner than that, and it seems he quickly turned to his large rolodex of political contacts.
Yale-Loehr told the New York Times on Saturday that “Terry knew somebody in Biden’s office and that’s how the meeting got coordinated.”
The Times story appears to indicate that Yale-Loehr was referring to a 2011 meeting between USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas, Terry McAuliffe, and Janet Napolitano, but Yale-Loehr emailed Breitbart News on Saturday telling us “I did not represent Gulfcoast funds management in 2011 so I was not at the meeting. I do not know what was discussed at the meeting…The NYT seems to have confused the two mtgs.”
Yale-Loehr is one of the country’s foremost experts on the EB-5 foreign national investment and immigration program. He is the co-author of Immigration Law and Procedure, which is considered “the leading immigration law treatise in the U.S.” According to Yale-Loehr’s curriculum vitae, ” [t]his 20-volume reference work, which is updated four times a year, is considered the bible of U.S. immigration law. U.S. federal courts have cited the treatise more than 500 times.”
From 2006 until 2010, Yale-Loehr served as executive director and “founding president/ceo” of the Association to Invest in USA, the “trade association of EB-5 immigrant investor regional centers.” The organization’s website lists him as “president emeritus.” Gulf Coasts Funds Management is one of the 102 EB-5 regional centers around the United States that are members of the Association to Invest in USA.
Yale-Loehr is also the author of “EB-5 Immigrant Investors,” which was published in American Immigration Lawyers in 2009, and is frequently hired to represent companies and private individuals in immigration law and EB-5 visa issues.
It is unclear if McAuliffe and Yale-Loehr’s October 2010 White House meeting had any influence on subsequent USCIS decisions related to GreenTech Automotive. Breitbart News sent Yale-Loehr phone and email requests to learn what he discussed in this White House meeting, but as of the time of this story’s publication had not received a response to that specific question.