U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy brushes off questions about his support for EB-5 visa legislation and ties to his father’s construction business.
"I'm a member of Congress and I'm not actively involved in the family business ... so feel free to reach out to them and learn more about what they do," the South Florida Democrat told reporters on a conference call his campaign arranged in early April to blast Grayson over alleged ethics issues. "But as far as I know, they have not done any projects to do with EB-5."
But Murphy, who talks to his father one or two times a day, somehow missed that Coastal Construction in February was named general contractor on one of the biggest projects ever in South Florida — Miami Worldcenter, a $1.7 billion shopping, entertainment and housing project planned for 27 acres in the city's downtown. Financing will come in part from EB-5 investors, typically Chinese.
How could he not know?
“As Patrick has no management role at Coastal, we were unaware of this,” spokesman Joshua Karp told the Tampa Bay Times in an email on Friday.
Coastal has also been involved with Skyrise Miami, another big EB-5 project, though Karp said it no longer is. Company officials could not be reached to confirm this.
Murphy, 33, has also gotten significant campaign contributions from EB-5 players, including the controversial Nicholas A. Mastroianni II.
As he emerges in the U.S. Senate race, Murphy's background and swift rise in politics is coming under closer scrutiny. In this story, we explore the fundraising muscle his father has provided.