Exclusive: Jay Peak projects under SEC investigation - VTDigger
 

Exclusive: Jay Peak projects under SEC investigation

Dignitaries break ground on a proposed EB-5 project in Newport last month. No state officials attended the ceremony. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

Dignitaries break ground on a proposed EB-5 project in Newport last month. No state officials attended the ceremony. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

© 2015 VTDigger

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Jay Peak ski resort’s EB-5 projects in the Northeast Kingdom.

Documents obtained by VTDigger show the federal regulatory agency is conducting a review and inquiry. The principals of the Jay Peak companies, Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros, have been interviewed, and the SEC has asked the developers for financial information.

The SEC will not confirm or deny that a probe of the Jay Peak projects is underway.

The state has required the developers to disclose the investigation to investors as part of amended offering documents for AnC Bio Vermont, a biotech company in Newport, and Q Burke, a ski resort in East Burke.

Stenger and Quiros are using $545 million in immigrant investor funds through the federal EB-5 visa program to expand Jay Peak Resort, Q Burke and AnC Bio Vermont. Through the program, foreign investors can obtain a green card and eventually permanent residency in exchange for a $500,000 investment. More than 800 immigrants have invested in eight projects. Six of the projects have been completed; two are slated for or are under construction, and two other planned developments do not have approval for EB-5 funds through the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center.

Last summer, the state suspended its agreement with the developers for AnC Bio Vermont and Q Burke. In the intervening 12 months, neither project has been fully reinstated.

Susan Donegan, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation and the chief regulator of state securities law, required the developers to issue amended offering documents for investors in the AnC Bio Vermont and Q Burke projects. As part of that requirement, Stenger and Quiros must disclose to investors that the SEC is investigating all six Jay Peak projects.

Stenger says the SEC review is “fully voluntary and is something that many large projects are participating in nationwide.”

“We welcome the voluntary review and have cooperated fully and will continue to,” Stenger said in a statement. “This oversight makes good projects like ours better and we have been fully cooperative, as I have said.”

What is EB-5?

In exchange for a $500,000 investment in qualifying projects in Vermont, immigrant investors can seek permanent residency in the United States. Investments under the EB-5 program must be placed “at-risk” in order for immigrants to qualify for permanent residency. That means return of investment is not guaranteed.

The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service requires that each investment results in the creation of 10 jobs.

“The number of projects in the USA went from a few dozen 7 years ago to many hundreds today,” Stenger said in an email. “It is logical that SEC review and guidance would be seen and indeed we are seeing this. Several operating clarifications have come from the SEC to all EB-5 projects in the past few months some, no doubt, as a result of this national review.”

Donegan says she has “no ability to comment” on the SEC investigation, but it’s the first time she’s heard of a “voluntary review.” “I don’t understand what he [Stenger] means,” she said in an interview.

Patricia Moulton, secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, says she “doesn’t know anything about what the SEC may or may not have.”

“But there is no doubt the SEC is reviewing a lot of EB-5 projects around the country,” Moulton said. “It wouldn’t be unusual if there were some inquiries into these kinds of projects.”

In a May 22 memo, Brent Raymond, director of the state’s EB-5 Regional Center, warned that the DFR’s release of the amended private placement memoranda for AnC Bio Vermont and Q Burke, and resulting disclosure about the SEC investigation to VTDigger, puts investor money at risk.

Raymond asked the Department of Financial Regulation to protect investors from a media backlash by freezing any remaining funds for the Jay Peak, AnCBio and Q Burke projects.

A news report on the federal probe, Raymond said, would be damaging to investors because it would expose the “many layers of inadequately disclosed business entities, new principals and gross misrepresentations.”

Jay Peak majority owner Ariel Quiros. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

Jay Peak majority owner Ariel Quiros. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

Sources say the SEC probe of the Jay Peak projects started with a focus on Quiros and may be linked to an allegation made by Douglas Hulme, chief executive of Rapid USA Visas, an immigration firm that severed ties with Stenger and Quiros in 2012. In a letter to more than 100 immigration attorneys, Hulme announced that he had “terminated relations” with Jay Peak because he “no longer has confidence in the accuracy of representations” made by Jay Peak, or in the “financial status and disclosures” of the limited partnerships for six projects at the resort, including the Tram Haus, Hotel Suites I and II, Penthouse Suites, Golf and Mountain Suites and Stateside. James Candido, who was the director of the state regional center at the time, dismissed the allegations. He said he found “no issues” with Jay Peak’s financials.

State tightens scrutiny

For more than a year, the state has demanded that Quiros and Stenger provide financial details and complete information about the ownership structure of the more than 30 entities affiliated with the Jay Peak, Q Burke and AnC Bio Vermont projects.

In January, the state shifted regulation of EB-5 programs from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, which has oversight of the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center, to the Department of Financial Regulation, which enforces state banking and securities laws.

State officials believed the securities division would have better luck wresting documents from the developers, but Stenger and Quiros have yet to comply with the state’s requests for complete financial records.

The state gave AnC Bio “partial approval” in March on two conditions: Money from any new immigrant investors must be held in escrow; and those funds may not be released until the department has completed a full financial review of the project or “on an investor-to-investor basis upon I-526 petition approval by USCIS, in order to put the funds ‘at risk.’”

The Department of Financial Regulation has asked the developers to also hold money in escrow for Q Burke and suggested that the developers could get a bridge loan for the project. Stenger and Quiros have balked at the idea, insisting that it will “cripple” the project’s ability to continue construction.

“DFR has requested all projects use an escrow account but realizes that in the case of QBurke Resort Hotel the project is already underway and that escrowing funds would not work for an already under construction project,” Stenger said by email. “We are working with DFR right now cooperatively to assure the review is complete and construction funds are fully available to the project.”

Intensified federal scrutiny of EB-5

Since 2013, SEC has stepped up enforcement reviews of EB-5 projects. The federal regulatory agency charged a Chicago developer with defrauding immigrant investors early that year. Anshoo Sethi allegedly used false and misleading information to solicit investors in a $145 million hotel and conference center project. The Chicago Convention Center attracted investments from 250 investors but was never built. The SEC shut down the project in February 2013.

The federal regulatory agency has since issued warnings to investors about signs of fraud, including layers of companies run by the same individuals.

The EB-5 program has also come under scrutiny for approving the visas of immigrants who have been accused of committing fraud and money laundering. Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has also been accused of giving certain EB-5 projects special treatment.

Northeast Kingdom Economic Development Initiative

These numbers are approximate and the project costs do not include additional private capital. Job numbers reflect the estimated value of direct, indirect and induced employment (combined) generated by the investments.

Granting of conditional visas comes first, and indicates USCIS has signed off on the business plan and its job creation projections. Granting of permanent residency indicates USCIS has recognized job creation.

Jay Peak Hotel Suites (Phase I)
Tram Haus
$17.5 million EB-5 money
35 investors
350 jobs (total)
Project complete, and all investors granted permanent green cards.

Jay Peak Hotel Suites Phase II
Hotel Jay and water park, ice arena, golf course, club house and commercial conference center
$75 million EB-5 money
150 investors
1,500 jobs (total)
Project complete, and all investors granted permanent green cards.

Jay Peak Penthouse Project
55 suites on the top floor of Hotel Jay
$32.5 million EB-5 money
65 investors
1,300 jobs (total)
Project complete, and all investors granted permanent green cards.

Jay Peak Phase III-A
Golf & Mountain Suites
$45 million EB-5 money
90 investors
900 jobs (total)
Project complete, and all investors granted permanent green cards.

Jay Peak Phase III-B
Lodge & Townhouses
$45 million EB-5 money
90 investors
900 jobs (total)
Project complete, and all investors granted permanent green cards.

Jay Peak Phase III-C
Stateside hotel and base lodge
$67 million EB-5 money
134 investors
1,340 jobs (total)
All investors granted conditional green cards.

AnC Bio
$110 million EB-5 money; $71 raised from investors
220 investors needed; 142 investors have subscribed. 128 investors have filed I-526 residency petitions, 70 were approved as of April 9.
2,300 jobs (total)
Partially approved by state. Private placement memorandum approved. New money from investors to be held in escrow. Under state financial review. Groundbreaking ceremony held on May 14; no construction underway.

Q Burke Mountain Resort
Hotels, conference center and recreation facilities
$120 million EB-5 money; $33 million raised from investors
240 investors; 66 investors have subscribed. 52 investors have filed I-526 residency petitions.
2,400 jobs (total)
Partially constructed. Under state financial review. Negotiations with state over amended private placement memorandum ongoing.

◊ ◊ ◊

The following projects have not been approved by the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center: Newport’s waterfront marina, hotel, conference center and the Renaissance Block office building in Newport (a city block was torn down, but no construction is underway). An MOU with the state for Jay Peak’s West Bowl buildout and village development was canceled.

The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service terminated four regional centers in fiscal year 2014 because two were the focus of criminal complaints and another was shut down for misallocation of investor funds.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who helped to create the EB-5 program, is working on federal reauthorization of the program, which he says has “generated billions of dollars in capital investment and created tens of thousands of jobs across the country.” Flaws in the program, however, need to be remedied, Leahy said in a statement. The legislation would establish an “integrity” fund that would be used to investigate fraud; require background checks for developer principals; require disclosures regarding business risks and conflicts of interest; and require more oversight of projects and monitoring for securities compliance.

State questions developers’ representations to investors

For more than a year, Raymond has been scrutinizing the AnC Bio Vermont business plan and fielding complaints about the Jay Peak projects in the wake of allegations that the developers secretly converted immigrant investors’ ownership stake in the Tram Haus Lodge, the first project at the Jay Peak Resort, into unsecured loans.

While Raymond declined to be interviewed for this story, documents show that he has raised probing questions with the developers and their attorneys, Primmer Piper Eggleston and Cramer, and even his colleagues at the Department of Financial Regulation about “inadequate disclosures” and “misrepresentations” he says have been made by the developers.

In a series of memos that started in May 2014, Raymond and John Kessler, general counsel for the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, have called into question the following actions:

• The Jay Peak developers have promoted the proposed Renaissance office building project and the Newport Marina and Conference Center on the company’s website and at trade shows, even though the projects have not been approved for EB-5 investments.

• AnC Bio Korea no longer has leased office space in the headquarters it sold off at auction in Seoul last year. Raymond went to the offices and found they had been vacated. The Seoul office is mentioned in the amended private placement memorandum. The unplanned sale of the building in Korea, and subsequent information about the biotech company’s rocky financial history triggered the state suspension of the MOU with AnC Bio Vermont.

• The regional center has never received any communication about whether AnC Bio Korea was dissolved under the equivalency of a bankruptcy, notice of its status with creditors, or information about whether the transfer of technology was protected against creditors, according to Raymond. He says Korean documents show the company owed $15 million to creditors when the headquarters was auctioned off in May 2014.

• The immigrant investors in Hotel Jay, also known as Phase II, have not received an exit strategy plan for repayment of their $500,000 investments, and Raymond is receiving complaints. “There were only 35 investors in Phase I,” Raymond wrote in an email to Stenger. “There are 145 investors in Phase II. Your letting them know you are focused on how they decide to pay off investors will potentially save you and the Regional Center a lot of angry investor correspondence and REPUTATIONAL DAMAGE. Reputational damage from the Phase I exit has been VERY damaging to the RC’s reputation.” (Emphasis is Raymond’s.)

• Oana Dancuta, a Romanian immigrant who now has permanent residency and lives in Rochester, New York, is a Phase II investor who says she has not received an exit strategy plan from Jay Peak more than five years after she invested in the Hotel Jay project. Stenger has told her it could be another year before investors see a plan for the return of their investments.

• Raymond says the developers have not disclosed or explained familial relationships and “self-dealing” relationships and closely held interests among various business entities and management structures. Ariel Quiros, his son Ary Quiros, his wife Okcha Quiros, Jongweon Choi and Bill Stenger are the principals of several dozen interrelated companies.

Developers fail to provide adequate information

The state says for more than a year Stenger and Quiros have failed to provide adequate financial information and material disclosures about the interconnected companies based in Miami, Seoul and Vermont.

While the developers have said they have complied with the state’s requests, Raymond and Moulton have been unhappy with Stenger and Quiros’ slow and selective communication. In January, the regional center turned over the AnC Bio Vermont and Q Burke cases, which are still under state suspension, to the Department of Financial Regulation for a complete financial review.

Jay Peak's Bill Stenger speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony for a proposed AnC Bio facility in Newport. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

Jay Peak’s Bill Stenger speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony for a proposed AnC Bio facility in Newport. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

Full approval of AnC Bio and Q Burke has been delayed because Stenger and Quiros have not responded to requests for information in a timely way, the state says. According to memos from state officials, the developers have not complied with requests for basic financial information for AnC Bio and Q Burke, such as bank statements and budgets.

Stenger rejects that assessment. “The financial data that is being provided is being assembled for DFR,” he said in an email. “There has been no delay just end of fiscal year and end of ski operations to contend with. All the financial materials are being assembled to be shared with DFR.”

In January, the developers were in a hurry for the state to approve AnC Bio in order to schedule a spring groundbreaking ceremony.

By March, midway through the financial review of AnC Bio, the developers switched tack and insisted that state regulators prioritize the financial review of Q Burke instead.

Only 16 of 44 requests for financial documentation had been satisfied for AnC Bio Vermont. A spreadsheet provided to the securities division of DFR shows that the following documents were still missing: monthly bank statements and reconciliations, general ledger, budgets and third party financial statements for June 2013-March 2015; a detailed job cost report; a list of owners and ownership interests; purchase and sales agreements; account signing authority; budgets and actual expenditure reports; tax returns for 2013 and 2014; and identification of accounting software.

In a report to Donegan, Christopher Smith, director of capital markets for DFR, says nothing had been uploaded to a state online dropbox for AnC Bio. “Bill Kelley responded to the document request by stating everything the accountants needed was in the binder produced to the DFR on March 9. This is not true.”

Michael Pieciak, deputy commissioner of the securities division says: “Bottom line, Kelly & Co. have not produced anything.” (Kelly is Jay Peak’s legal adviser.)

As of early May, DFR had received “minimal” documentation from Q Burke.

The Department of Financial Regulation has also asked for Raymond James bank account spreadsheets for the Jay Peak projects that list each investor, amounts of money released, the dates money went to Jay Peak or was deposited in the Raymond James account. None of this information was provided to the state.

Q Burke owner Ariel Quiros (left) is joined by Gov. Peter Shumlin and Quiros' son, Ary, at a groundbreaking ceremony for Q Burke Resort’s new hotel. Photo by Hilary Niles/VTDigger

Q Burke owner Ariel Quiros (left) is joined by Gov. Peter Shumlin and Quiros’ son, Ary, at a groundbreaking ceremony for Q Burke Resort’s new hotel. Photo by Hilary Niles/VTDigger

The Shumlin administration’s role

The Shumlin administration, which has publicly supported all of Jay Peak’s EB-5 projects (the governor helped Stenger solicit investors in Miami in 2011 and in China in 2013) has pulled back in recent weeks.

Gov. Peter Shumlin declined to comment on whether the state continues to support the AnC Bio project, which could bring as many as 2,300 jobs to Newport.

While state officials have been prominent in groundbreaking ceremonies for past projects, no one from the administration attended the recent kickoff for AnC Bio in Newport on May 14. (Since then, no excavation has taken place, and there are no construction crews on site.)

Moulton said she and her staff at the agency were “too busy” with the end of the legislative session to attend.

But amid ongoing questions about whether the developers have made accurate financial representations, Shumlin helped to negotiate the partial approval with the developers in a meeting March 27 in an apparent attempt to end the stalemate between the developers and the Department of Financial Regulation.

Kelly, who has described himself as “counsel” for Jay Peak, thanked the governor for his efforts and for offering to have the state issue a joint a press release with Jay Peak correcting “inaccuracies” in VTDigger stories about AnC Bio Vermont. (The release was never issued.)



At the meeting, Donegan agreed to give AnC Bio “partial approval” to market the project, as long as new money from investors is held in escrow. Full approval is pending a financial review by DFR. In a news release, Stenger billed the state decision as full approval.

Shumlin declined to comment on his involvement in the regulatory decision.

“The governor has been very clear he wants us to do our job,” Moulton said. “He recommended we have an important job to do in a regulatory capacity. It’s not unusual for us to meet with him about these projects. He’s telling us to do what we need to do.”

Shumlin has received $22,000 in campaign contributions from Quiros, Stenger and entities they are affiliated with, according to reports to the Vermont secretary of state’s office.



Anne Galloway

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  • Bruce S. Post
    • Joseph Perry

      Wow,

      Move along sheeple, there’s nothing to see here. The rich game the system and always avoid jail.

      So the early phase 2 investors are already not being paid off, I guess more suckers need to sign up to pay them off, eh?

      • Jamie Carter

        “So the early phase 2 investors are already not being paid off, I guess more suckers need to sign up to pay them off, eh?”

        I’m just curious as to what timeline do you think a 75M project should begin to show a profit and dividends?

        • joseph perry

          Jamie

          As per EB-5 guidelines, 5 years for a exit, either pay back the full amount or turn over ownership of said project to investors. NOT just do nothing and say we will get back to you.

          Hears the better question, did Jay Peak turn a profit last year? We will never know because of all the shell company games they are playing.

    • “Brent Raymond has it arse-backwards. The media are not the problem here. The investors should have been protected upfront by the State of Vermont, which, if anything is truly found to be wrong, may essentially end up an unindicted co-conspirator. ”

      Exactly, Bruce…also calling EB-5 investors “immigrants” redefines the term.

      Kudos Anne on the extensive reporting that the other media outlets here have ignored for the most part.

    • Annette Smith

      From the Barton Chronicle article, “Sharing the stage with Mr. Stenger were U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch and Governor Peter Shumlin.”

      Will this eventually result in indictments? If so I wonder how far they will extend.

      Those of us with good sniffers could smell this was bad from miles away. Just how bad?

    • Richard Wang

      My friend from China has invested this EB-5 JP Project May 2015 and has been waiting for Immigration Office approval for over a year and half. Just found out this project is in trouble. Anyone can provide more information of how their investment fund is protected by the law. I believe the United States is the country where the bad action should be punished. Investors should be protected. God bless my friend and all JP investors!!

  • Bill Peberdy

    Hmmm- No state officials could find the time to show up at a Stenger and Quiros’ EB-5 latest ground breaking dog and pony show last month!
    Interesting.

  • Don Peterson

    Had Tony Pomerleau, that wily old pike, taken the bait instead of spitting out the hook, Bill Stenger would have leveled half of Newport by now. At least we can still have our Wendy’s instead of a vacant lot.

    This reads like a Balzac novel, with a clubfooted Newport limping away. How did our state come to be so badly managed?

    • Randy Koch

      Tell Don it’s Flaubert not Balzac he should be referring to with “a clubfooted Newport limping away”

  • H. Brooke Paige

    “Handing out “Green Cards’ like Candy Bars in this “Pay for Play” Adventure !

    For several years I have been complaining that the entire EB-5 program is a political “cash cow” and a scam to enrich the lawyers and politicians while in return they have been handing out “green card ” like candy bars to any foreign “investor willing to pony up a half million bucks for a piece of often nebulous and illusionary ventures .

    In this story we are reminded that Mr. Shumlin has received over $20,000 from the principles in this project alone AND now he won’t even answer questions about the project or his involvement – I can’t say I’m surprised since this is just the latest example of “Business as Usual” for the Shumlin Administration – while the developers “drag their feet” in answering information request and other disclosure requests from the State of Vermont !

    Nothing to see here folks, now move along !

    H. Brooke Paige
    Washington, Vermont

  • Bill Olenick

    Bravo Zulu on excellent reporting VT Digger.
    I believe it is morally corrupt to sell our citizenship for a measly 500k and urge the people of Vermont to vote OUT any elected official, who are so morally bent, as to support such a program, without all the checks and balances in place.
    We should thank our lucky stars for a free press or none of this would have been brought to light.

  • Mark Trigo

    How does Brent Raymond still have a job, and how can anyone have faith in Vermont’s EB-5 program while he is still heading it up?

    • Bruce S. Post

      I am in no position to assess Brent Raymond’s performance, but I imagine that, in such a highly-politicized program, Mr. Raymond was under great pressure from higher ups.

      Remember the BerryDunn report assessing Vermont Health Connect, released in March 2014. One under-appreciated observation of the consultants: the amount of political interference. Here is something I wrote then in my comment on VTDigger. They are quotes from the BerryDunn report:

      — “Given the politically charged and highly publicized nature of the ACA and HBEs
      both nationally and in Vermont, HSE project stakeholders may have been sensitive to being interviewed and reticent to provide honest feedback”;

      — “Culture does not encourage questioning, conflict, or engaged problem solving, and inexperienced leadership does not know when to raise issues above them”;

      — “Political climate did not allow DII” (Dept of Information and Innovation) “to be forthcoming about the success or failure of the project”; and

      — “Politics appeared to drive decisions.”

      Similar criticisms perhaps can be made of Vermont EB5. Therefore, Mr. Raymond may be in an uncomfortable and untenable position. If there are serious problems and violations, he could take the fall, but the fault may lie elsewhere. That is where Anne Galloway’s indispensible examination is vital.

  • Randy Koch

    We had originally thought that these foreigner dudes were plunking down their $500,000 and getting green cards in return: simple quid, simple quo. Now it turns out they were only parking the dough? They expected to get it back? Can someone check with Leahy and find out why this was supposed to be a good deal for the US? Was the idea all along to fund projects so iffy that no bank would touch them?

    • Kathy Nelson

      Maybe we should take another look at what Leahy is really supporting here:

      http://rt.com/usa/266701-dhs-agent-whistleblower-harassed/

      A whistleblower bringing to light corruption in the EB-5 program is harassed and threatened and we have to hear about it from a Russian news agency.

      It’s time for Leahy to announce his retirement.

      • Jed Guertin

        Excellent article.

        Even in Vermont, this kind of activity to try and stifle whistleblowers isn’t new.

        And, it’s cost the State millions every year.

  • Lee Stirling

    I’m sure that when more of the facts come to light, Gov. Shumlin will be even more confident in his decision not to run for re-election. Now his administration is distancing itself from Stenger, Quiros, and these EB-5 projects. The mismanagement of VHC and the dumping of his promised single-payer health plan are the (quasi) public reasons why the Gov. decided to depart but I bet there are other more private reasons tied to EB-5 as well.

  • Jim Barrett

    So a immigrant shovels out at least 500 grand to come to the U.S. when they don’t have to give up a cent and simple come here anyway. Not one list of those so called investors has been made public…why? Bernie Madoff would be proud of this scheme and now you may see why Shumlin suddenly decided not to run for anther term.

  • George Plumb

    In terms of long term sustainability Vermont is already overpopulated by at least 100,000 people. http://www.vspop.org/htm/opt_sustainable_report_vt_2013_small_ver4.pdf
    Why should we be bringing in more people just because they are going to build more development that is in itself unsustainable?

  • victor ialeggio

    Great stuff, Anne. And a little poking around shows the Chicago case you cite above (promoted as “[The] World’s First Zero Carbon Emission Platinum LEED certified” hotel and conference center) is just the tip of the EB-5 dung heap:

    One among several recent high-profile EB-5 debacles took place in 2011 in Moberly, MO, where a developer named David Cole tried to use the program to draw investment in Mamtek Inc.’s now-defunct sweetener plant, to the tune of $65 million. Project directors had promised 600 jobs would result. (There were, in fact, 4 employees.) Cole faced criminal theft and fraud charges in Randolph County, MO.

    Another was The El Monte Regional Center, Pasadena, CA, which had been created to fund a $1 billion mixed-use development at the city’s transit station. Also shut down in 2011 amidst accusations and indictments of directors John Leung & Jean Lang for fraud, embezzlement, questionable investments, overselling the engagement of state and local government, & not disclosing accurately the risk of investment.

    More recently (June 2015), a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles by a former CFO of SolarMax of Riverside, CA, alleges that by engaging in a series of Enron-like “round trip” transactions with sham middleman entities, David Hsu & Simon Yuan, directors of the EB-5 company, reported nearly $50,000,000 in phantom revenue on its 2011 and 2012 audited financial statements. The suit also alleges that in an effort to create a false impression of stronger financial performance SolarMax disseminated the inflated figures to EB-5 investors as well as presented them to the USCIS, the agency charged with regulating the EB-5 program.

  • Jamie Carter

    Sounds like things are actually going well. Of the 6 completed projects all investors for 5 of those have their permanent green cards and for the 6th one they all have their conditional green cards. And lets face it, that is really the goal of these investors. I’d say Jay Peak Inc is doing exactly what their goal is to do.

    As for paying back that money, some investors are getting returns, some aren’t. You don’t sink $100M into a project and several years and start seeing returns immediately. Those initial projects are, the later ones have not yet seen them.

    As for delaying information, it’s a bit of a he said she said. The state is complaining they don’t have all the information, while Mr Kelley has stated everything they need is there in submitted documents. It’s easy to side with the state here, but one only need to look at the health exchange to realize that providing the state with documents doesn’t mean much.

    What is obvious from this article (and perhaps the only thing) is that there is very little communication going on. Maybe, just maybe Donegran and Smith should give a call to Kelley and say hey, we realize your submitted documents but we would like to see X,Y, and Z. Could you provide us with that information.

    As a final note: I do believe the EB-5 program is a terrible idea, but that’s a separate issue from development in the NEK and should be treated as such. Digger likes to get into it because they can rile up the public on multiple topics and sensationalistic journalism is always a better seller. I particularly like the part where the state officials specifically called out the misrepresentations in the VTDigger articles.

  • jackie Simons

    Seems like totally lax supervision by the government – local, stare and federal over developments which continue to be unaccountable. On the AnC bio project, no one has addressed what type of research will be done in these “clean” rooms. Will they be working with dangerous pathogens, biological elements etc… It is all about the money….

  • walter moses

    Great investigating reporting! Thanks Anne for info no other media has mention of. This is really good stuff.

  • George Cross
  • Judith Henault

    Thank you, Anne. I hope our mayor reads this before deciding whether or not to apply for our City Manager position. And let’s hope that our City Council is paying very good attention. What a mess we here in Newport are in. Wish us luck.

  • “The EB-5 program has also come under scrutiny for approving the visas of immigrants who have been accused of committing fraud and money laundering. Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has also been accused of giving certain EB-5 projects special treatment.”
    Concerning the above, it would interesting to know the country of origin of these so-called immigrant investors and how they are vetted for previous criminal activity in their homelands.

  • don keelan

    Anne Galloway’s excellent reporting of a most complex set of questionable issues suggests that an independent commission be created. The level of conflicts on interest in this case is unprecedented. The question now is, will our state’s political leaders have the courage to appoint such a commission?

  • David Matthews

    Thank you for another enlightening article, confirming the “sniff test failure” many of us have sensed for a long time.

    Looking more and more that the bottom line is that we now have an immigration program that Donald Trump would love.

  • I love it – Vermonters are not able to finance this golden opportunity yet the J-P people attract hundreds of millions of offshore dollars.

    Are Vermonters dumb or is there something smelly here?

    Reminds me of a recent scam promoted by another US company (last name rhymes with dizzy) concerning non-US citizen workers displacing US-citizen workers because US-citizen workers were not available to fill the jobs displaced by non-US -citizen workers.

    Are US citizen investors not interested in this wonderful investment opportunity? Are they too dumb to recognize a gold-plated opportunity (complete with rare-metal-plated-excavation devices)? Or are non-US-citizen investors looking for a place to bury their money where the sun don’t shine? Does a name like Putin or associated kleptocrats sound familiar in this context?

    Can someone explain this to me?

    Sorry, I’m dumb.

    wb

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