WeWork founders Adam and Rebekah Neumann are close friends with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner and invited them to Rebekah's extravagant 40th birthday bash in Italy

Adam Rebekah Neumann

  • Adam and Rebekah Neumann, two of WeWork’s three founders,
    maintain close ties to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
  • While the fact that the two couples have a relationship is far
    from secret, most media depictions up until this point had focused
    on their business ties and real estate negotiations, but not
    details of their social connection. 
  • The Neumanns dine with the Kushners occasionally and send
    holiday gifts.  
  • The WeWork founders wanted to invite Trump and Kushner to
    Rebekah’s 40th birthday party in Italy, but they did not attend. By
    one account, a senior employee intervened, warning them of the
    optics of having them at the party; by another telling, the
    logistics were too complicated for their security team.

  • For more WeWork stories, click here. 

Rebekah Neumann’s 40th birthday party in Italy was set to rival
a celebrity’s bash. The celebration included luxury suites for
around 40 people and a yacht, perfect for exploring the Amalfi
Coast off of Positano, one of the three cities on the
itinerary.

But the invite list caused some headaches. Rebekah and her
husband Adam, two of WeWork’s three founders, have maintained a
close relationship with Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and
her husband, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. The Neumanns
wanted to invite the couple to the big party in Italy.

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The Kushners did not attend, and sources offer differing
accounts about why. One ex-employee who worked closely with the
WeWork executive team said that WeWork’s then-head of
communications – who did not respond to a request for comment –
argued against their inclusion. The comms head was worried about
the optics of socializing with Trump administration officials
because of WeWork’s generally progressive stance on social issues,
this person said.

At the last minute, Adam Neumann agreed not to have his friends
at the party. But another source familiar with the matter said
Ivanka and Jared were invited, but the three-city event was too
logistically challenging for the couple’s security team. 

Regardless of the party, three former employees who worked
closely with senior management confirmed that the couples remain
close. 

A WeWork representative declined to comment, citing the
company’s quiet period ahead of its IPO. A spokeswoman for the
Kushners did not respond to a request for comment. 

Love, the Kushners

As WeWork navigates a rocky path to going public, the founders’
leadership style has been under a microscope by current and
potential investors. The company has more
conflicts of interest among leadership
than typical public
companies, particularly around Adam Neumann’s property dealings.
WeWork
took steps last week
to address some of those perceived
problems, though now the company is
delaying its IPO plans
after a chilly response from potential
investors.  

The Neumanns have used the company to advocate for progressive
causes, including
environmental issues
and the
LGBT community,
so the former employees said the close ties to
the couple, and by extension the White House, seemed
hypocritical.

While the fact that the two couples have a relationship is far
from secret, most media depictions up until this point had focused
on their business ties and real estate negotiations, but not the
details of their social connection and how it was perceived within
WeWork. 


Rebekah was photographed
standing behind Ivanka Trump at actor
Hugh Jackman’s New York home last year. One former staffer said the
couples dine occasionally and that the Neumanns have received gifts
from the couple at headquarters, including a basket for the Jewish
holiday Purim, which the ex-employee said had a note that ended
“Love, the Kushners.” 

‘Tequila shots and arm wrestling’ 

Adam Neumann has not shied away from talking about his business
relationship with Kushner – WeWork is a major tenant in an office
complex in Dumbo Heights,
Brooklyn
owned by Kushner’s family real estate business,
Kushner Companies. In 2014, Kushner told
Forbes
that he was initially skeptical of WeWork’s pitch. 

“It took us a little bit to get on the same page. My first
impression was they had very big ambition, but I wanted to make
sure there was enough substance behind it,” Kushner said. 

Per earlier reports, Kushner and Adam Neumann have taken
tequila shots
– Adam’s drink of choice – and gone
head-to-head in an
arm wrestling match
to settle a minor disagreement.
Kushner lost. But Adam Neumann has called the real estate heir a
mentor. 

“I find Jared to be one of the most sophisticated real estate
developers on earth,” he told
Bloomberg Businessweek
in 2016. “A lot of times when I’m with
Jared, I take cues from his behavior just to learn how to act. You
know, just to act a little bit better myself because it’s always
good to learn.”

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WeWork founders Adam and Rebekah Neumann are close friends with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner and invited them to Rebekah's extravagant 40th birthday bash in Italy