The home that Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are renting in Washington, D.C. reportedly belongs to a Chilean billionaire whose company is embroiled in a legal battle with the U.S. government.
Wednesday the Wall Street Journal identified Andrónico Luksic as the man who controls Tracy DC Real Estate Inc., the company that owns the house in which Trump and Kushner reside in the Kalorama neighborhood of D.C.
According to public records and interviews, Tracy DC acquired the six-bedroom property in late December for $5.5 million.
Rodrigo Terré, a relative of Luksic’s who manages the businessman’s finances, said Luksic’s company purchased the property as an investment, and noted that its rental to Trump and Kushner is coincidental.
Terré would not disclose the amount of rent Luksic’s company charges for the house, but asserted that Trump and Kushner pay “absolute market value.” He further claimed that “categorically” there are no ties between the rental and Luksic’s legal battle with the U.S. government, adding that neither himself nor Luksic had met the tenants.
A White House spokesman confirmed that Trump and Kushner were paying “fair market” value, that they had never met or spoken to Luksic, and that they were unaware of Luksic’s U.S. business interests when they initially rented the property.
The Luksic family operates banking, mining and industrial interests and, according to Forbes, is among Chile’s wealthiest with an estimated worth of $13.1 billion.
The lawsuit in question concerns a proposed mine in Minnesota and pits a U.S. unit of the Luksic family’s mining company, Antofagasta PLC, against the U.S. government and environmental groups.
The proposed project would occupy U.S. Forest Service land adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a 1.1 million acre parcel of land protected by the federal government in 1926.
Luksic’s U.S. unit, Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, filed suit against the U.S. government in September in a Minnesota federal court. The lawsuit was triggered by a preliminary decision by the Interior Department to block renewal of two mineral leases that were ultimately denied in December by the Obama administration. The Interior Department cited possible “serious and irreplaceable harm to this unique, iconic and irreplaceable wilderness area.”
In a February court filing, Twin Metals claimed that the leases cover areas that contain “one of the largest untapped copper and nickel resources in the world.” The company conservatively estimates the in-ground mineral value at more than $40 billion.
Minnesota politicians are now pressing the Trump administration to reverse the decision with a goal of creating jobs in the state.
The Justice Department has subsequently requested a 60-day delay in the case to allow “time to brief incoming administration officials” on its details.
“It is something we are actively reviewing,” an Interior spokesperson said.
H/T: The Hill
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