How many jobs did Hollywood hotel developer Relevant Group create using funding from the controversial EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services?
LOS ANGELES, October 22, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--UNITE HERE Local 11 wrote to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur M. Jaddou today asking the agency to examine questions and provide information regarding Relevant Group and affiliates’ usage of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
The EB-5 program makes immigrants eligible for Green Cards if they invest a minimum of $900,000 in a U.S. commercial enterprise and "plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers" for each investor.i The controversial program has been criticized as vulnerable to misuse, and its Congressional authorization lapsed on June 30, 2021.
Marketing materials for Relevant Hospitality Fund 1 released in April 2018 state that Relevant Group "is widely recognized as one of the most important drivers of Hollywood’s re-gentrification" with five fully funded hotel and entertainment projects and over $250 million in lower-cost Chinese Capital raised.ii
The letter states, "Relevant Group co-founder Grant King stated in 2017 that the $110 million Dream Hotel relied on funding from 180 "mostly high-net-worth" Chinese investors,iii" and continues, "If there are 180 EB-5 investors in the Dream Hotel project and each investor is eligible as a result of their investment to apply for a Green Card, the Dream Hotel project would have to create 1,800 jobs. However, in 2020 and 2021, 6417 Selma Hotel LLC received two Paycheck Protection Program loans at the Dream Hotel’s address tied to only 183 jobs.iv"
In closing, the letter encourages USCIS to examine Relevant Group projects to ensure full compliance with the EB-5 program’s requirements, and in particular to determine how many jobs these projects have created, whether the projects have opened according to their anticipated timelines, and how many investors received a Green Card.
UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.
i "USCIS Policy Manual, Chapter 2 - Eligibility Requirements" https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-6-part-g-chapter-2
ii "Relevant Hospitality Fund 1," April 2018 ,Page 26, https://www.relevantgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/RHF1_CONFIDENTIAL_4.11.18-1.pdf
iii "Hospitality: Road to Hotels Ran Through China," March 28, 2017, https://www.relevantgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/LA-Business-Journal-3.28.17.pdf
iv "Tracking PPP," ProPublica, https://projects.propublica.org/coronavirus/bailouts/loans/6417-selma-hotel-llc-2641287203
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