Commentary

Tony Sutton: Phase 1 EB-5 investors respond to Moulton commentary

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Tony Sutton, approved as spokesman for 20 of the 35 Jay Peak Phase 1 EB-5 investors.

The Jay Peak Phase 1 EB-5 investors are appalled by, and object to, Ms. Patricia Moulton’s Oct. 10, 2014, letter to the editor and board of VTDigger. Rather than dedicate the Vermont Regional Center’s resources, and her time and energy, to helping the Phase 1 investors get to the bottom of exactly what has transpired at Jay Peak, and what really happened to their investments under her agency’s watch, Ms. Moulton is far more preoccupied with publicly resuscitating the tarnished reputations of her agency, her subordinates, Mr. Stenger and Jay Peak.

Specifically, and in her recent letter, Ms. Moulton wastes no time rushing to endorse Mr. Stenger’s unilateral and contemporaneously undisclosed seizure and conversion of the investors’ $17.5 million equity interest in the Tram Haus Project … into unsecured promissory notes that, contrary to what Jay Peak has publicly stated, are without any form of guarantee.

If Ms. Moulton is genuinely concerned with the Vermont EB-5 program’s well-being, she should consider devoting her time to ensuring that the investors — and the certified forensic accountant whom the Phase 1 investor group have retained to investigate this matter — have complete and unfettered access to the basic and necessary financial information from Jay Peak …

 

Whatever her personal opinions might be, there is no doubt that what Ms. Moulton innocently characterized as “an action taken by Bill Stenger,” in fact, resulted in the Phase 1 investors being completely divested of their multimillion dollar ownership interest. Ms. Moulton is well aware that Mr. Stenger’s conduct is the object of an active and ongoing investigation and for Ms. Moulton to prejudge and endorse Mr. Stenger’s action, by declaring to the public that “Mr. Stenger’s action was not in conflict with any federal law or regulations enacted for the EB-5 program” is the height of self-serving irresponsibility.

Is Ms. Moulton a judge, prosecutor, or otherwise possessed of the expertise required to so confidently opine on and adjudicate such matters (particularly without the benefit of any state audit of Jay Peak’s EB-5 program, and without the Vermont Regional Center’s having ever received or reviewed any of the quarterly reports Jay Peak was obligated to provide)? The answer, quite obviously, is that Ms. Moulton is not and, in this regard, her public exoneration simply adds insult to the grave injury which years of the Vermont Regional Center’s idleness and failed oversight have already inflicted on the state’s EB-5 investors, who invested in Vermont’s EB-5 program in good faith and only because of the Vermont Regional Center’s assurances of the program’s integrity.

If Ms. Moulton is genuinely concerned with the Vermont EB-5 program’s well-being, she should consider devoting her time to ensuring that the investors — and the certified forensic accountant whom the Phase 1 investor group have retained to investigate this matter — have complete and unfettered access to the basic and necessary financial information from Jay Peak, rather than penning lengthy editorials which attempt to gloss over and excuse her, Brent Raymond’s and the Vermont Regional Center’s glaring failures to date. Either way, it is at this point clear that the only thing sustaining Stenger is the state and its functionaries who, at every turn, appear bent on doing everything in their power to justify, excuse, defend and explain away his conduct.

We are but the first group of investors and have been treated with utter contempt. Later investors should beware.


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  • Jamie Carter

    “Is Ms. Moulton a judge, prosecutor, or otherwise possessed of the expertise required to so confidently opine on and adjudicate such matters”

    Ummm given her job, I would say that “possessed of the expertise” would be accurate for Ms. Moulton.

    ““Mr. Stenger’s action was not in conflict with any federal law or regulations enacted for the EB-5 program” is the height of self-serving irresponsibility.”

    Acutally, making this statement without indicating some law that the actions taken by Jay Peak are in conflict with would be right up there in the self-serving irresponsibility scale.

    This “commentary” is nothing more then a smear attempt by an a group of people who didn’t do their due diligence in understanding the agreement before forking over half a million dollars and are upset that they aren’t getting AS MUCH money as they hoped for.

    Let’s review…

    a.) Did you get a greencard….yes.
    b.) Do you have a reasonable expectation to recoup your $500,000 investment?…. yes.
    c.) Are you getting a return on your investment?… yes.
    d.) Are you angry because you were hoping for more return on a speculative investment… yes.

    So you could be sitting in the UK with $500,000 or you can be sitting in Florida with $500,000 + a 1.56% return throughout the worst global recession in recorded history and 1% interest until it is paid back in full now that it has been converted. I’m not sure what all the complaining is about.

    Warren Buffett lost $2 Billion dollars this week… some investments are profitable and some aren’t. Be thankful, yours is actually generating money instead of losing it.

  • Robin Smith

    I am a reporter for the Orleans County Record seeking to talk to some of the investors with the Tram Haus at Jay Peak.
    Please contact me at my email address.

    Thanks!

  • Robin Smith
  • There is a term for what is happening with Ms. Moulton and the State of Vermont: regulatory capture. Vermont had official responsibilities to oversee this deal and protect investors. That Ms. Moulton would not see the obvious conflict of interest in her marketing efforts on behalf of Mr. Stenger is disturbing. Some may dislike the EB5 program in its entirety, but one can’t deny that we aren’t a destination for capital and the investments that came into our state through EB5 have been helpful. Our neglecting the legitimate interests of investors and ignoring the degradation of an investment converting it from equity to unsecured debt poisons the well for future investments in Vermont. Not a job well done!

    • Willem Post

      Heidi,

      That is a good summary.

      Businesses more likely will think twice about starting a business or expanding their operations in Vermont, because of the fraudulent outcomes of the EB-5 program.

      About $200 million out of $380 million raised from mostly Asian multi-millionaires was misappropriated, per SEC indictment.

      $50 million of that was used for PERSONAL purposes, such as paying off $18 million in stock market trading margin debt, and to buy a multi-million dollar condo in the Trump Tower in New York City.

      ACCD promotes AND claims to oversee/monitor the EB-5 program; by definition a conflict of interest situation.

      Shumlin, after many years of ACCD “oversight”, did not transfer oversight from ACCD to DFR until January 2015.

      The SEC started investigating Jay Peak, et al., projects in January 2014, ONE WHOLE YEAR EARLIER.

      Why had ACCD not been EFFECTIVELY investigating at about the same time as the SEC?

      ACCD is required, BY LAY, to turn over the EB-5-related documents requested by VTDigger. There is nothing voluntary about it.

      ACCD claims hundreds of pages in its files were turned over to VTDigger that show “oversight”.

      If that were truly EFFECTIVE oversight, why would Shumlin transfer oversight to DFR?

      Some people just never seem to be able to get out of denial mode.