EB-5 Notes: Sunset, Vietnam, and a Charter School

By David North on November 13, 2017

The EB-5 program faces yet another of its sunsets on December 8, when the law covering its main provisions expires.

There is no reason to suspect that anything but the traditional extension will happen again, as we have written previously.

Although the huge majority of its funds are invested in Democratic strongholds like Manhattan and California, the GOP congressional leaders will probably again use the funding bill as a vehicle for another short-term extension, thus avoiding a floor vote. The White House plays a silent role in all of this, though the Trump in-laws, the Kushners, are big users of the program, notably for its support of the skyscraper at 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the EB-5 front, we learn that the keeper of visa statistics, Charles Openheimer of the State Department, is predicting that demand for EB-5 slots is high enough in Vietnam that in the coming year there is likely to be a waiting period for that nation's citizens wanting to make $500,000 investments in the program. Currently that situation is true only for applications from China.

The notion that the war-torn nation has recovered so thoroughly as to have an excess of EB-5 investors is mind-boggling.

There also has been news about another attempt to use EB-5 funds in the controversial charter school program; in an earlier posting we described how both investors and taxpayers were disadvantaged by this kind of financing in a South Carolina charter school.

Today's story is that the Sarasota County School Board in Florida has decided against granting a charter to a school, at least partially based on the proposed funding that was supposed to include some $2.4 million in EB-5 moneys. The funding was to be supplied by an entity that was new to me, Building Hope, Inc.

I looked it up on the internet and found this message, presumably translated from the original Mandarin. It was about funding another Florida charter. Note the last sentence:

[US-EB5] Florida -EB-5 Public Charter School Phase 30

EB-5 Public Charter School Phase 30

EB-5 Public Charter School Phase 30 located in Florida Regional Center, which is being built by Building Hope Group. Operated by City Education Services, Inc. Project will be completed in July, 2017

Advantages of the project

- Government's full support
"Charter Schools are incubators of Innovation" - May 2012

US President Trump will appoint privately-run Betsy DeVos, a privately-backed voucher and charter school, as Minister of Education.

Devos was appointed 10 months ago, so the current internet posting, using the word "will" must be at least that old. It is not known whether this text was seen by the Sarasota County School Board.