Friday, December 16, 2011

CONGRATS Queensfort Sonic: First Investor is Their First I-526 Approval!

Congratulations out to Arthur, Carolina, and all the folks at Queensfort/Sonic for their first I-526 approval!   The EB-5 investor, who wanted an equity-based EB-5 project, contacted me via Immigration Insider.   He was the first to invest in QS and LatourLaw filed his I-526 - their first.  Fittingly, the first of many QS I-526s now in the pipeline was the first to be approved by USCIS.

As my readers know, I have been pretty critical of the equity-based EB-5 structures I've seen;  the structure put together by Queensfort, however, is an entirely different animal.  Instead of putting the EB-5 investor's interests last (as virtually all I've reviewed do), an innovative series of protections are in place for EB-5 Limited Partners.  It took Carolina hammering me over the head for a few weeks before I understood, but I finally got it.   Their brilliant "Floridizing" of the venerable Sonic brand into "Sonic Beach" is the right product at the right time, as evidenced by the 3 block long line of cars at the drive through I witnessed at their first Grand Opening.  Just as the mighty CMB redefined EB-5 investor protection through their meticulous structuring of the first successful loan-based EB-5 program, Queensfort proved to me that not ALL equity models are bad, and that it IS possible to create equity-based EB-5 structures which are fair to the EB-5 investor. 

Sharon and I will continue to bring you the very best EB-5 projects we find, whether loan-based or equity-based.  The lesson repeats itself daily: an EB-5 opportunity is only as sound as the integrity of its General Partner...period.

Miss Carolina, I believe you now owe me at least three martinis...(-;

See Sonic Beach's Site

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Important Tax Update for Expats

Steve Cantor and Hal Webb are among the best private client tax practioners in the U.S. and, fortunately for me and many of my clients, located right here in Miami.  Today the firm sent out an email advising of recent IRS guidance for U.S. Citizens or Dual Citizens Residing Outside the U.S.  Because many of our clients remain overseas while having business activities and investments in the U.S., and because many are dual nationals, I wanted to share this with you.

On a side note: we have worked with Steve and Hal for years in assisting our foreign private clients and we do so on a "no referral fee" basis.  Our "payoff" is in knowing that our immigration clients are in the best possible tax-planning hands.  Please contact them directly if you need sophisticated tax planning support and tell them Jose sent you! J

In answer to the tax reporting concerns of many United States citizens and dual citizens who live outside the United States, the Internal Revenue Service just announced additional guidance.  Please visit the following link to view a full copy of the IRS Fact Sheet 2011-13

Should you have any questions or if we can be of assistance to you, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Best regards,

Cantor & Webb P.A.

1001 Brickell Bay Drive, Suite 3112, Miami, FL 33131 - USA

Telephone (305) 374-3886 - Fax (305) 371-4564

Monday, December 5, 2011

HELP! Miami Office Needs Admin Assistant: Fluent Mandarin Required

Folks, I posted an ad earlier and got several attorneys applying...I apologize for the confusion.  I am actually looking for an Administrative Assistant who is fully fluent in Mandarin.  This person will be serving as my primary "vocal chord" in Miami so poor Sharon doesn't have to spend her valuable time translating and interacting on my behalf with our partners and investors in China.  I'm looking for one VERY sharp cookie who wants to come along for what appears to be a pretty exciting EB-5 ride next year, so if you know that person, PLEASE pass this along!  Thx, J

P.S. below is the Craigslist job posting FYI

Midtown-area (Miami) law firm seeking full time Administrative Assistant with the following minimum qualifications:

  •  NATIVE fluency in written and spoken Mandarin Chinese

  • AA or BS/BA in any field

  • Advanced skills in Excel, Quickbooks, Word, and PowerPoint, and the ability to write, edit, and publish basic HTML. 

SEO experience would be excellent; we are seeking candidates already in South Florida and the position is available immediately.  F-1 with EAD okay, would consider H-1B/PERM sponsorship for the right candidate who proves his/her abilities.  Please send your c.v. and cover letter to

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sinophobia Rears its Ugly Head: Mamtek's Forgotten EB-5 Investors

Remember October 13th's Immigration Insider, On Trust and EB-5 Marketing in China, where I mentioned Missouri's Mamtek EB-5 mess, where a number of EB-5 investors from China got taken for a ride, along with the State of Missouri?  Well, it's finally making the mainstream media in the U.S...and it sounds like the whole mess is the FAULT of the Chinese!

In a rather comprehensive Associated Press Article on Failed Job Creation Plans, the writer opens by describing Mamtek as "A global company with Chinese ownership"...leaving the reader with the impression that the only victims were in Missouri, and that the perpetrators were from China.  Nothing could be further from the truth: the former Chairman and President of Mamtek was California Attorney Bruce Cole .  Mr. Cole's very distinguished resume, as you can see in that link, suggests a long-standing involvement in business in China and Hong Kong.  After the company imploded -- maybe before or during, it isn't clear -Mamtek at some point named a new president,  another California attorney, this one a bankruptcy lawyer named Peter Kravitz.  (Mamtek's former attorney, Steven Peden, had said to the press a few months ago that he believed Mamtek plans to work out a payment plan to avoid bankruptcy court...sure isn't looking that way.)

Doesn't sound very "Chinese owned" to me.

The AP article not only mischaracterizes the underlying ownership of Mamtek, but totally omits the fact that 15 Chinese investors lost both their $500,000 (plus whatever other fees) AND their shot at U.S. permanent residency.  That stings a lot more than Missouri's loss of their $39 million of taxpayer dollars.  The latter is the bumbling of public funds, hardly a novelty in America (or, for that matter, anywhere);  the former is a half a million hard-earned bucks out of an individuals pocket.  Ouch!  The greatest irony in all of this is that the Chinese players who WERE involved were innocent investors -- and a top-tier Chinese migration agency with an otherwise-sterling reputation.  Sharon and I know the folks at this particular agency (whose name I won't mention because they've gotten enough misleading press already) and we know for a fact they will be, when all is said and done and they've squared with their investors, the biggest victim of all.

This whole business of blaming China for American EB-5 disasters is quite tiresome.  There are hundreds of registered Chinese migration agencies in China and the vast majority know as much about EB-5 as I know about molecular biology.  Most are purely commission driven and their lousy reputations are hardly a secret.  A small number of them - such as the agency which marketed Mamtek in China -- are stellar organizations owned and managed by individuals with impeccable credentials and a history of fair dealing and aggressively protecting the interests of their migrating clients. 

The reasons the "Mamteks" of the EB-5 world happen has nothing to do with folks on the other side of the Pacific.  They happen because of the Gordon-Gecko-esque "greed is good" mentality which is pervasive in too large a portion of the U.S. EB-5 sector. 





Friday, December 2, 2011

Absolutely Miami...About Time!

A vodka named Miami? Absolutely - Art Basel -

EB-5 Won't Be the Only Chinese Money Creating U.S. Jobs

With Sinophobia now officially hitting the Republican primary debates (astonishingly triggered by no less than the former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman -- excellent Christian Science Monitor article HERE ), the Chinese government's announcement that it wants to bankroll U.S. infrastructure is a game-changer...and a reality check for those who continue to view U.S./China relations with a lingering Cold War attitude.

While it isn't a startling revelation to my particular readership, the American public in general would be dismayed to learn that China has over $1 trillion invested in U.S. bonds.  That kind of economic might is precisely what feeds the xenophobia that seems to make for such good political posturing in this climate of a stalled U.S. economy.  Historically -- and the examples are many -- the combination of our blessed North American bounty and the buffering of two large oceans on our left and our right -- we've reacted in times like these by further closing our economic doors to those economically stronger than us.

If you read the CSM article linked above between the lines, Ambassador Huntsman's comments are as pragmatic as they are optimistic: in a global economy, America's continued economic cooperation with China is not only is necessary.  It blows my Libertarian mind (at least that's what my label-loving cousin says I am) that the former U.S. Ambassador to China himself has to pussyfoot lest he sounds too "Pro-China".

Well, since I'm not running for anything (expect perhaps a proper post-Art-Basel martini at some point this evening) I'll say what Ambassador Huntsman CAN'T say publically:  the Chinese government - with all its dents, blemishes, and problems - is making a grand diplomatic gesture by announcing that its currently passive U.S. investments should be instead channeled toward improving U.S. infrastructure and creating American jobs.  The Chinese KNOW that without an economically strong America, they will never return to those wonderful days of three-production-shifts and triple digit expansion...and languish, the poor dears, in those double digits of economic gain which are causing such stress back home.

A good weekend to all. JEL

Minister: China wants to invest in US roads, rails - National Business -