Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) issued an angry statement Thursday after White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner failed to answer questions about a potential conflict of interest regarding a real estate purchase by Kushner’s company.
“These are straightforward questions, but we still haven’t received an answer. What is Mr. Kushner hiding?” Lieu said in a statement.
Lieu and 12 other Democrats sent a letter to Kushner this month expressing concerns about reports that 666 Fifth Avenue — a purchase made by Kushner Companies at the height of the real-estate bubble — is in need of “massive cash bailouts” from foreign nationals.
An in-depth article by Bloomberg News, cited in that letter, gave a dour view of Kushner Company’s purchase:
It was 2006—the height of the real-estate market boom—when Kushner Cos. agreed to buy 666 Fifth Avenue for $1.8 billion, then a record for a Manhattan building. All of it was borrowed except for $50 million. The company still holds half of a $1.2 billion mortgage, on which it hasn’t paid a cent. The full amount is due in February 2019.
The article later described the purchase “as the Jenga puzzle piece that could set the empire teetering.” Kushner Companies has denied that description.
That letter noted that Kushner had made a low-key visit to Saudi Arabia in November, unusually made without press releases or readouts about what was discussed.
The Democrats, who placed a deadline of Dec. 12 for answers, asked, “Since November 8, 2016, did you have any discussions with any foreign nationals or entities in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, China, Israel, France or any other foreign country (excluding Russia) about 666 Fifth Avenue?”
It also asked if he did anything “related to helping finance, purchase, or assist with the debt” on the property.
Kushner had divested from the company when he took the position as senior adviser in January, but the questions about conflicts of interest have remained as he has met with officials from rich nations as part of his broad portfolio that includes forging an Israel-Palestinian peace.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.