Sunday, December 19, 2010

Flowers, champagne, and hoops: on web video from China, the EB-5 pitch

Part 16 of a series

The effort by the New York City Regional Center (NYCRC), the private investment pool federally authorized to accept immigrant investor funds, and developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) to raise $249 million from 498 Chinese millionaires under the EB-5 immigration program may be legal, but there is ample reason to question whether it will serve the public interest.

Part 1 of this series concerned the seven-year extension available on Phase 1 of the project should Forest City Ratner not repay the EB-5 loan. Part 2 estimated the developer could save at least $191 million. Part 3 examined the sales effort in China, with the arena front and center, even though it's already funded.

Part 4 reported on claims made in China, on video and in person, by public officials supporting the project. Part 5 concerned the value of the development rights, contrasted with those in last year's deal for the Vanderbilt Yard. Part 6 described reasons to think the development rights are overvalued.

Part 7 explained why China is such a popular target for those seeking EB-5 investors
. Part 8 provided another reason why the Nets played exhibition games in China in October. Part 9 cited the curious avoidance of Mikhail Prokhorov during the pitch in China.

Part 10 noted NYCRC's belated announcement of the project in a newsletter. Part 11
described misleading promotion in the Chinese media and by Chinese firms working with the NYCRC. Part 12 covered the proclamations that are part of the pageantry in China.

Part 13 concerned the role of the NYCRC's preferred law firm. Part 14 linked the land loan to a previous one from Gramercy Capital. Part 15 analyzed the use of weasel words and ambiguous language. Part 16 took another look at a web video pitching the project.

The wrap-up and FAQ is here.

I already in Part 3 embedded the video below, excerpted from a video by the Wailan immigration consultancy, showing how the "Brooklyn Arena and Infrastructure Project" is being pitched to potential investors from China seeking green cards.

(The link to the full video should be here.)




You don't need to understand that actual statements--about the value, importance, and alleged uniqueness of the project--to get the subtext.

The tower of champagne glasses says it all. So does the portrayal of Westerners as the generous heroes and exotic hoopsters. So does the continuing backdrop of basketball, the NBA, and the Nets.

Actually, some of the people in the crowd look a little glum, or skeptical. But they don't speak, so it doesn't matter.

The Nets are in action! Important men in suits travel across the ocean! There's a raffle! Winners get basketballs!

By the way, the same soaring soundtrack is used on another Wailan EB-5 video.

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