Lenders say executives didn't talk loans with Jared Kushner during White House meetings
Posted March 21, 2018 2:09 a.m. EDT
NEW YORK (CNN) — Two companies that provided hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Jared Kushner's family's business are disputing any connection between those deals and meetings their executives had with Kushner at the White House.
Citigroup and Apollo Global Management provided financing, and sent letters Tuesday to four Democratic members of Congress who wanted more information about what role Jared Kushner played in securing it.
This comes after the New York Times first reported executives from both companies met with Kushner at the White House before the large loans were closed.
Michael Corbat, the CEO of Citigroup, met with Jared Kushner in the spring of 2017, less than a month before his company loaned $325 million for a development in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO. Kushner Companies owns 47.5% of the development, including a 6.5% passive interest which belongs to Jared Kushner himself, according to the letter.
"Nothing related to the DUMBO loan or any other personal business with Mr. Kushner or the Kushner Companies was discussed at that meeting," Rohan Weerasinghe, Citigroup general counsel, writes.
Corbat didn't know about the DUMBO loan, and it already had preliminarily approval when he met with Kushner, Weerasinghe says, adding that Corbat only found out about the loan when the New York Times first inquired about it weeks ago.
The meeting with Kushner was part of a routine visit to Washington and was arranged to discuss NAFTA and US Trade Policy, according to Weerasinghe.
Two additional Kushner Companies loans from Citigroup are mentioned in the letter, including $80 million for the former New York Times building.
Citi also lent money for a building where Kushner Companies holds a 12.5% stake, including 2% that belongs to Jared himself, according to the letter. The total dollar amount of that loan was not included.
According to its letter, Apollo Global Management loaned $75 million more on the DUMBO development, but says the deal was arranged with Citi, and the company says that, to its knowledge, Jared Kushner played no role.
In November 2017, ARI, a real estate investment trust managed by an Apollo affiliate, loaned Kushner Companies $184 million to refinance a Chicago skyscraper.
"ARI engaged with the professional managers of Kushner Companies, which did not include any members of the Kushner family," Apollo attorney Kevin Downey wrote. "To our knowledge, Jared Kushner did not play any role on behalf of Kushner Companies with respect to the Chicago Loan."
The New York Times, earlier this month, reported one of Apollo's founders, Josh Harris, met with Jared Kushner on multiple occasions while advising the Trump administration on infrastructure policy.
The two never discussed any loans to Kushner Companies, today's Apollo letter says.