Are Federal Programs used to break our Chains of Economic Bondage being abused?
I was presented with this article titled “How Jared Kushner built a luxury skyscraper using loans meant for job-starved areas By Shawn Boburg for the Washington Post which leaves me with two questions. The first is why this was not discovered and reported during the campaign and the second is whether this is what even local politicians mean when they say that only they know how government works. An extension of that question is whether this action has been happening right here in our city of Rockford and other places where federal dollars sent to cities to help with the high unemployment numbers or to benefit the lesser of us were re-routed to serve only those in power or people that they knew in power?
The story mentions that “Jared Kushner and his real estate partners wanted to take advantage of a federal program in 2015 that would save them millions of dollars as they built an opulent, 50-story residential tower in this city’s booming waterfront district, just across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan. There was just one problem: The program was designed to benefit projects in poor, job-starved areas. So the project’s consultants got creative, records show. They worked with state officials in New Jersey to come up with a map that defined the area around 65 Bay Street as a swath of land that stretched nearly four miles and included some of the city’s poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods. At the same time, they excluded some wealthy neighborhoods only blocks away. The tactic — critics liken it to the gerrymandering of legislative districts — made it appear that the luxury tower was in an area with extraordinarily high unemployment, allowing Kushner Companies and its partners to get $50 million in low-cost financing through the EB-5 visa program. The move was legal, and other developers have used similar strategies in recent years, often aided by state officials who welcome the infusion of cash. But it illustrates how Kushner, who ran his family’s real estate company before he became a senior adviser to President Trump, and his partners, exploited a loophole in a federal program that prominent members of both parties say has been plagued by fraud and abuse.”
Consider how the recent story about contaminated drinking water was found not only on Fort McClellan Army Base in Anniston, Alabama but Marine Corps Base Camp LeJeune, North Carolina as well as several other military bases now we all have heard about the drinking water in Flint, Michigan but few knew about this same issue found right here in the Stateline. One wonders just how much more federal dollars sent to help those in our city who needed it most re-routed to help grow and benefit other parts of this city? Not sure about anyone else but I am sure this is not in keeping with the initial purpose of this program.