The Trump Organization and Jared Kushner’s family company plan to do business together on a Jersey Shore development known as Pier Village, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Kushner Companies plans to pay the Trump Organization to manage at least one hotel at the center of the development in Long Branch, the Times reported, citing people briefed on the talks.
The Trump Organization, currently being managed by President Donald Trump’s two sons, and Kushner Companies have signed a letter of intent to work together on the hotel, according to the report. The Trump Organization also began managing a Kushner-owned hotel in Livingston, NJ, last year, people briefed on the matter told the Times.
CNN previously reported that Trump and Kushner retain financial interests in their respective businesses. The potential deal raises questions about potential conflicts of interest, legal experts told the Times.
A deal is not final, and the Kushners are not required by law to inform local officials — who agreed to back the oceanfront development with $20 million in bonds — of any deal, the Times said.
Whether or not a deal is reached, Kushner is expected to eventually own 20 percent of the hotel, and he was personally involved in the project early in the presidential campaign, the newspaper reported.
The White House declined to comment to the Times, but both companies confirmed their discussions about the hotel at Pier Village, the newspaper reported.
Kushner Companies said in a statement to the Times that the Trumps “have zero equity of any type in our properties or businesses” and that the proposed Long Branch deal comes as a result of the company lacking a specialization in the hospitality industry, which caused it to have “a business obligation to seek the most capable resource.”
The Trump Organization disputed that a deal would pose a conflict of interest.
“This is a straight-up business deal,” Eric Danziger, the head of Trump Hotels, told the Times. “If there were something out of the ordinary about the deal, then I think that question is fair,” he said.”
Marilyn L. Glynn, who served as general counsel in the Office of Government Ethics during both Republican and Democratic administrations, told the newspaper that deals between the two families do not inherently violate any ethics rule. But, she added, “The concern is that the President might not want to do anything that would upset the Kushner family agreement to do business with his company.”