A report in The Wall Street Journal last week said New York federal prosecutors have subpoenaed Kushner Companies over its use of an investor visa program to fund the One Journal Square project in Jersey City.
Kushner Companies was run by Jared Kushner, son in law of President Donald Trump and presidential advisor, until earlier this year when he reportedly withdrew from control of the family business.
But in May, Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, allegedly used Jared Kushner’s name when seeking investment from Chinese investors to help fund the project through a visa program known as EB-5. This is a program frequently used by developers to seek funding for Jersey City projects.
An investor can get a visa for investing $500,000 into projects located in areas with high unemployment. One area of the possible investigation, according to the Journal, will look at whether or not Kushner Companies – with the help of state officials – configured a map that gerrymandered unemployment figures in the area to allow the project to meeting the visa requirements.
Rail tunnel information hearings held in Hudson County
NJ Transit and the federal Railroad Administration have written a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Hudson Tunnel Project and will hold two public hearings on the plan, officials announced.
The project would double train capacity going in and out of Manhattan and would allow for high-speed rail service.
As part of a public comment period, three public hearings were scheduled. One public hearing was held on Aug. 1 in New York. A second meeting was on held Aug. 3 on the upper level long hallway at the Secaucus Junction Rail Station, off 15X of the Turnpike and New Count Road. A third meeting will be held at Union City High School, 2500 Kennedy Blvd., on Aug. 10. Each hearing will include an afternoon and evening session, from 3-5 p.m. and from 6-8 p.m., with a brief presentation about the project at 3:15 p.m. and again at 6:15 p.m.
The public comment period runs through Aug. 21, 2017.
The proposed tunnel would cost about $14 billion to build and wouldn’t be operational until roughly 2026, officials have said.
Choc-O-Pain opens Jersey City location, new Hoboken site to follow
Choc•O•Pain’s new 3,900 square foot commissary bakery and café is now open at 330-332 Palisade Ave. in Jersey City’s Heights neighborhood. This location will supply all of Choc•O•Pain’s locations (Hoboken, Palisades and Jersey Ave., Jersey City) as well as Choc•O•Pain retail accounts with freshly baked breads and pastries.
Owner Clemence Danko will also open an uptown Hoboken location in the Hudson Tea Building at 1500 Washington St. by the end of 2017.
A pair of permanent exhibits will mark end of Cunningham Foundation
Officials announced last week that a pair of permanent exhibits will be installed in separate and distinct corridors of the state’s second largest city in honor of the late Glenn D. Cunningham, who in 2001 made history by becoming the city’s first and only African American to be elected to the office of mayor of Jersey City.
In the coming months, exhibitions attesting to Cunningham’s lifelong history-making achievements will be installed at New Jersey City University in the city’s southern corridor where Cunningham earned a bachelor’s degree, and at the Jersey City Free Public Library located Downtown.
Cunningham was also state senator for the 31st Legislative District while still serving as mayor (another first for the city) at the time of his untimely death in May 2004.
The achievement also marks the end of operations for the Sandra and Glenn D. Cunningham Foundation, which has fulfilled its primary goal with the installations and the bestowal of more than a quarter-million dollars to more than 200 students via scholarships. It closed its doors for the foreseeable future on Friday, Aug. 4. The foundation office had been housed on the second floor of the Newport Mall, which Sandra credits to Jamie Lefrak and the Lefrak Corporation.
“Glenn believed so much in the power of education so much so that it was one of the primary covenants he’d talk with youngsters about at every opportunity,” said Sandra Cunningham. She made history when she fought for and won her late husband’s senate seat in Trenton and has held the post since being elected in 2007. “I’m thrilled that during the past several years, and even during the economic crisis, we were able to raise funds to continue assisting students eager to continue their education.”
Cunningham also inked a deal with Goldman Sachs to completely finance a $5 million affordable housing project (The Auburn) in the city’s most neglected region, Ward F on Martin Luther King Drive.
The exhibits will feature not just that story, but also others about how Cunningham gave up being a United States Marshall to become the city’s mayor. He also led Jersey City as it became the lifeline to lower Manhattan for manpower and supplies following the Sept. 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center Towers.
Former city director sentenced to 18 months for stealing $250 K
Robert E. Mays, 40, former executive director for the Jersey City Child Development Centers Inc. (JCCDC), was sentenced on Aug. 2 to 18 months in prison for stealing more than $250,000 from the JCCDC, an organization that provided early childhood development services and education to under-privileged children, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
May previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to one count of wire fraud. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court Mays was the executive director of JCCDC from Sept. 2013 to May 2014. Mays admitted that he stole more than $250,000 from JCCDC by unilaterally increasing his annual salary from $96,500 to $155,000 after being employed by JCCDC for only two months. He also admitted that he created false board of director’s minutes to give the impression JCCDC authorized the salary increase.
In addition, Mays admitted he withdrew funds from a JCCDC bank account to pay for unauthorized personal expenses, including a 2007 Maserati Quattroporte and a fur coat worth thousands of dollars.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Wigenton sentenced Mays to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $257,418.20.
Police get grants in Guttenberg and Jersey City
Guttenberg and Jersey City have been awarded grants under a new state program that provides grants to police departments for initiatives aimed at fostering strong police-community relations.
Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced on Aug. 1 that a total of $219,000 in grant awards for 28 police departments across New Jersey from the “Detective Matthew L. Tarentino Community Policing Grant Program,” a new program that provides grants to The program is named in honor of Detective Tarentino, a Summit police officer who epitomized the goals of community policing.
In June, Porrino announced the new program offering competitive grants of up to $10,000 per department for police to fund innovative community policing initiatives in honor of Detective Tarentino, who tragically lost his life in a motor vehicle accident on May 30. The first round of grants, funded with criminal forfeiture funds, was set at $121,000, to commemorate Detective Tarentino’s badge No. 121. However, the Attorney General increased the funding by nearly $100,000, to $219,122, after receiving a tremendous response, with applications from 138 police departments.
Guttenberg Police Department received $4,748 for Guttenberg Police Department’s First Annual Fall Festival. The Jersey City Police Department received $10,000 for its Police Chaplaincy Program
Deceased identified in downtown Jersey City drug overdose
Jersey City police responding to a call for assistance at a luxury rental tower on Second Street last weekend found two people dead and three others unconscious. The property is on the waterfront in the Harborside section of Jersey City, an upscale section of the city.
Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said the officers were met by emergency medical services personnel who informed them they had found five unconscious people at that location. Two of these had apparently died of drug overdoses, the prosecutor said.
The deceased have been identified as Anoj Malhotra, 33, and Rishi Patel, 32. Both were pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 5:25 a.m. The cause and manner of their deaths are pending an investigation by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.
The additional three male victims were transported to Jersey City Medical Center by EMS.
Although the investigation is ongoing, this appears to be an isolated incident and there should be no concern to the public, officials said.
The Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit is investigating this case with the assistance of the Jersey City Police Department. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor at (201) 915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip on the Hudson County Prosecutor’s official website at http://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/. All information will be kept confidential.
Mega project at NJCU West Campus retail begins leasing
Jersey City-based Grid Real Estate was selected to market the initial, 10,000 square feet of retail space on the University Place project (formerly the NJCU West Campus) on the growing west side of Jersey City. University Place is located between West Side Avenue and the retail corridor of Route 440. The 21-acre University Place mixed use project sits directly across Rt. 440 from Hudson Mall, recently purchased by Vornado (Urban Edge) for repositioning in Jersey City.
The first phase of retail will have a restaurant that will sit at the gateway of University Place. “With very little options to choose from on the west side of Jersey City, University Place’s restaurant’s will cater to the university along with the outside public who have to hop in their car and head downtown to grab a bite to eat,” said Bobby Antonicello Jr. of GRID Real Estate.
Anthony Bastardi, of Strategic Development Group, the real estate development advisor to NJCU, issued a statement: “The University is looking forward to working with the retail team at GRID to bring the first tenants to University Place. GRID Real Estate has a very deep knowledge of the retail market in Jersey City and neighboring Hoboken and we are looking forward to the GRID team introducing University Place and telling the exciting story of University Place.”
Jersey City girl drowns in Freehold, N.J. pool
An 8-year old Jersey City girl died on July 31 as result of drowning in a pool, according to news reporters.
The girl, who was pulled from the bottom of the pool while attending a graduation party, was pronounced dead at St. Peter's Hospital.
The girl apparently became submerged at the deep end of the pool, the account claims, and CPR was administered by EMS and police when they arrived on the scene shortly after 6 p.m.
The girl was rushed to CentraState Medical Center in Freehold Township before being transferred to St. Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick, where she was pronounced dead.