BettyC posted about some of Kushner’s most glaring conflicts earlier. As with every comic-book crime cartel magnate, there’s a varied if mostly banal JKush backstory. From the NYTimes article:
On the night of Nov. 16, a group of executives gathered in a private dining room of the restaurant La Chine at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The table was laden with Chinese delicacies and $2,100 bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild. At one end sat Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of the Waldorf’s owner, Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese financial behemoth with estimated assets of $285 billion and an ownership structure shrouded in mystery. Close by sat Jared Kushner, a major New York real estate investor whose father-in-law, Donald J. Trump, had just been elected president of the United States.
It was a mutually auspicious moment.
Mr. Wu and Mr. Kushner — who is married to Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and is one of his closest advisers — were nearing agreement on a joint venture in Manhattan: the redevelopment of 666 Fifth Avenue, the fading crown jewel of the Kushner family real-estate empire. Anbang, which has close ties to the Chinese state, has seen its aggressive efforts to buy up hotels in the United States slowed amid concerns raised by Obama administration officials who review foreign investments for national security risk.
Now, according to two people with knowledge of the get-together, Mr. Wu toasted Mr. Trump and declared his desire to meet the president-elect, whose ascension, he was sure, would be good for global business.
Unlike the Trump Organization, which has shifted its focus from acquisition to branding of the Trump name, the Kushner family business, led by Mr. Kushner, is a major real estate investor across the New York area and beyond. The company has participated in roughly $7 billion in acquisitions in the last decade, many of them backed by opaque foreign money, as well as financial institutions Mr. Kushner’s father-in-law will soon have a hand in regulating…
Important new cover story at NYMag by Andrew Rice, “The Young Trump – Jared Kushner is more like his father-in-law than anyone imagines”:
… During the latter stages of the presidential race, when all the so-called smart people in politics and media were preparing to shunt Trump rudely from the stage, he relied on Kushner the most. “He prefers the soothing, whispery voice of his son-in-law,” the Times reported in a prematurely funereal dispatch on November 6. Two nights later, as Mr. Trump learned he would soon be President Trump, it was Kushner’s voice that was screening the calls to his suddenly all-important cell phone. When Trump paid his first postelection visit to the White House, Kushner accompanied him, taking photos of the Oval Office with his iPhone and strolling with President Obama’s chief of staff. Now he and Ivanka were preparing to move to Washington, where they reportedly are set to occupy a $5.6 million mansion with their three children. “I’m hoping that he’s our Valerie Jarrett,” says Kathy Wylde, the Partnership’s chief executive, “the last person to speak to the president on matters that are important to New York.”
Kushner’s influence appears to be one hard truth at the center of the transition’s chimerical swirl of intrigue. “I think the bottom line is he believes in Donald, and he believes in the opportunity to rethink the way our Executive branch conducts itself,” says Strauss Zelnick, a media investor who is close with Kushner and attended the Partnership event. Kushner has thrown himself into the role of recruiter, exploiting his network in the real-estate industry and finance. He’s gotten advice from everyone, even a rabbi he was close to at Harvard. Kushner’s business dealings, like Trump’s, involve numerous partners and lenders from around the globe, even immigrants investing via a controversial cash-for-visa program, and are likely to come under great scrutiny. He has spent much of the transition period trying to figure out how to remove himself from potential conflicts of interest. Trump seems unconcerned. Kushner flattered the Partnership audience by saying the president-elect was happy to be bringing so many billionaires to D.C., asking, “Who else to do you want to see cutting deals?”…
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