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December 10, 2010

Why seek immigrant investors in China? Much new (& dumb) money, bball fever, little transparency or tough reporting, flexible attitude toward truth

Part 7 of a series

Atlantic Yards Report

Under the EB-5 program, investment pools known as regional centers--an increasingly popular way to raise cheap financing--can solicit immigrant investors from around the world to park $500,000 each in a job-creating investment.

However, the New York City Regional Center (NYCRC), in the case of the "Brooklyn Arena and Infrastructure Project," has focused on China, a country that offers a particular set of advantages to EB-5 promoters, and an even greater set of advantages for this project.

For the NYCRC and Forest City Ratner, China presents a valuable, unique opportunity, given the confluence of basketball fever, plentiful new money, the desire to get children educated (and other opportunities) in the United States, a language barrier, limited watchdog reporting on this issue, little emphasis on transparency, variable amounts of business sophistication, and flexible business ethics.

It's the new Wild Wild West.

Road shows

Even before a series of high-profile sales sessions in major cities in October, involving developer Bruce Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation's Peter Davidson (but not, as once billed, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz), the NYCRC was hustling.

As the NYCRC's Gregg Hayden said during a webcast produced by the Kunpeng immigration consultancy (excerpts) in mid-October, "Myself and my assistant General Manager, Zachary Woods, from Shanghai, have just finished a 45-day, 23-city tour, of the China market, raising preliminary interest and pre-sales for this project, and they're going extremely well, we have a lot of strong interest, because of the safety and security of this program, and the abundant job creation that we are producing with this project."

(Well, that's their story. This series challenges the claims of safety, security, and "abundant job creation.")

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NoLandGrab: Why, Gregg Hayden sounds like the Brett Yormark of green-card sales.

Posted by eric at December 10, 2010 11:27 AM