Are we still not done with this travesty? I'm referring to the Potala Tower, a multi-use high-rise foisted on Belltown by the much-abused EB-5 visa program.
By now, this is the fifth article about Potala on Cornichon. The first, a year after the groundbreaking (attended by Hizzoner, among others), reported on the first suspicions that something was amiss. Within a month, questions were being asked about a missing $46 million, most of which ended up in private bank accounts. ("Definitely not a Ponzi scheme...") By October of last year, pitchman Lobsang Dargey (a former Tibetan monk) had turned over the keys to all his projects.
Congress was supposed to do something about this scheme, which gives Chinese investors and their families green cards in exchange for a mere $500,000 dollar investment in dubious development projects, but they are occupied elsewhere this election season. But while The Donald is railing about the need for "extreme vetting," anyone with a spare half million simoleons can qualify and sign up for this EB-5 program
Meantime, with lawsuits and court injunctions and federal tax liens flying in all directions,
Here's what they're trying to revive:
I don't know where to start. How about here, less than six months ago: the failed project (which costs hundreds of overseas investors their life savings) got the go-ahead to resume work. The indicted fraudster got $1.8 million toward "legal fees" in return for keeping quiet. And now we see the result: a partnership between a Chinese developer and a Las Vegas real estate magnate.
What happened since those poor kids were dragged into the shovel-opportunity with Hizzoner? I think the Las Vegas oddsmakers looked at a map and saw that Paul Allen's Cinerama is next door. And the dazzling Amazon spheres are only two blocks away.