Among the Milken Institute’s proposals was for the Treasury to give investors a generous amount of time to build on opportunity zone land and to reduce the amount that investors had to spend upgrading properties to be eligible for the tax break. Those changes would make it easier for investors to reap the benefits.
The institute also asked the Treasury a question that would clarify if investors who owned land in opportunity zones before the tax law was passed were eligible to receive the benefits. The Treasury ruled that such investments were permissible, a controversial decision since the purpose of the opportunity zone initiative was to spur new investments, not reward existing projects.
Mr. Milken’s spokesman, Mr. Moore, said Mr. Milken “never attended any meeting focused on opportunity zone regulations with any federal agency, nor did he consult with any institute representatives who may have interacted with any agency.”
But Aron Betru, who led the Milken Institute’s opportunity zone efforts, told The Times in an interview that he did discuss opportunity zones with Mr. Milken, though he said he was not aware of Mr. Milken’s specific investments. And in 2018 Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Milken attended a small, private event, sponsored by the institute, to discuss opportunity zones.