Qatar Shocked, Shocked to Learn It Accidentally Bailed Out Jared Kushner
Vanity Fair - 02-12
Last August, an economic miracle occurred. Eleven years after a young Jared Kushner purchased an aging skyscraper that would become an albatross around his family’s neck, and six months before the Kushners would have to cough up the $1.4 billion that was due on the mortgage for 666 Fifth Avenue, a Canadian asset-management company swooped in and agreed to take a 99-year lease on the building, paying a near-century’s worth of rent upfront. The bailout was surprising for a few reasons, chief among them being comments by the Kushners’ previous partner that 666 Fifth “would be worth a lot more if it was just dirt,” plus the fact that the family had spent two years trying to get new partners or financing to no avail. Also, there was the matter of the Qatar Investment Authority being a major investor in the company, Brookfield Asset Management, and Kushner’s support of a Saudi- and U.A.E.-led blockade of Qatar. To some, it sure sounded like a foreign government was trying to influence policy by greasing the president’s son-in-law’s wheels! At the time, Brookfield told reporters that the Qataris “had no knowledge of the deal before its public announcement”—apparently they don’t read The New York Times—and now that the deal has officially gone through, Doha is doubling down, insisting, somewhat curiously, that the government had absolutely nothing to do with the 666 debacle.