President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor has decided to remain an investor for the time being in real estate tech start-up Cadre, which he co-founded.
Jared Kushner made the decision as part of a private agreement he made with the company, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Kushner and the company put the divestiture on hold with the understanding that while he remains an investor, Cadre will not seek out foreign investors, these people said.
"The transaction [divestiture] is still planned and has been on hold only due to Covid, and in the meantime Cadre and Jared have an understanding that while Jared continues to be an investor in the company, Cadre will not seek foreign investment and therefore avoid any perceptions of conflict," one of the people with direct knowledge said. These people declined to be named because the efforts have been made in private.
The move comes as ethics watchdog groups question the move and the president himself continues to be under scrutiny by his political opponents for his own business dealings while he seeks a second term.
The White House, Cadre and Kushner's attorneys did not return requests for comment.
Kushner, along with his brother Josh and their friend Ryan Williams, the current CEO, founded the company in 2014. Cadre uses data and technology to assist their often high-end clients with investments in commercial real estate.
After becoming senior White House advisor, Jared Kushner decided it was time to walk away from his investment as reports started to emerge that the business was backed by foreign investors. Kushner's original stake in Cadre ranged from $25 million to $50 million, according to his latest financial disclosure form.
Bloomberg reported in February that Kushner transferred his interest in Cadre to a trust that was supposed to sell his shares back to the company. A month later, as the pandemic swept through the country, states started shutting down and the Dow Jones Industrial Average eventually hit its lowest mark since Trump was inaugurated.
Kushner's brother's venture capital firm, Thrive Capital, along with Goldman Sachs and Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, are listed on Cadre's website as key financial backers.
Kushner has been involved with multiple projects involving leaders of foreign countries, including the crafting of a Middle East peace plan, leaving the possibility that his investment in the company could have brought at least an appearance of a conflict of interest.
Yet in late June, a filing that said Kushner would defer taxes on the sale of his Cadre shares was withdrawn, according to a Office of Government Ethics disclosure report. The new filing was first flagged by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which recently said in an online post that their experts "have never seen a situation like this before."
Cadre itself has tried to play down its link to Kushner during his time in the White House.
In a Forbes cover story last year, which at the time said Cadre had a valuation of $800 million, CEO Williams brushed off Kushner's involvement and said even his partial ownership has pushed away potential business allies.
"There are people who won't work with us [because of the Kushner connection], and we get that. But we have over 80 investors in the company. Jared is a passive investor who has no operational control," Williams told Forbes last year.