Jane Sanders overstated donation amounts in loan application for Burlington College

Burlington College President Jane O’Meara Sanders. Photo courtesy of Burlington College.
Former Burlington College President Jane O’Meara Sanders. Photo courtesy of Burlington College.

Former Burlington College president Jane Sanders overstated donation amounts in a bank application for a $6.7 million loan that was used by the college to purchase a prime 33-acre property on Lake Champlain in 2010.

Sanders told People’s United Bank that the college had $2.6 million in pledged donations to support the purchase of the former Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington property on North Avenue. The college, however, received only $676,000 in actual donations from 2010 through 2014, according to figures provided by Burlington College.

That’s far less than the $5 million Sanders listed as likely pledges in the loan agreement, and less than a third of the $2.14 million Sanders had promised People’s Bank the college would collect in cash during the four-year period.

Two people whose pledges are listed as confirmed in the loan agreement told VTDigger that their personal financial records show their pledges were overstated. Neither were aware that the pledges were used to secure the loan.

Burlington College also cited a $1 million bequest as a pledged donation that would be paid out over six years, even though the money would only be available after the donor’s death.

Burlington College President Christine Plunkett leave a board of trustees meeting Friday. Photo by Laura Krantz/VTDigger
Burlington College President Christine Plunkett leave a board of trustees meeting just before her resignation in December 2014. File photo by Laura Krantz/VTDigger

People’s United Bank stipulated that at the time of the closing in December 2010, the school would provide a report as part of the loan agreement detailing “fundraising collections, commitments and grants equal to $2,270,000” and information that would satisfy the bank that pledges were “valid and enforceable commitments of the respective donors and granting parties.”

Sanders and the college responded with a record of confirmed and potential donors. The document lists $2.6 million in confirmed pledges and a total of $5 million in potential contributions from 31 donors. The loan agreement was signed by Sanders and Christine Plunkett who was then the vice president of administration and finance for Burlington College.

Sanders, wife of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who is now running for president, resigned under pressure from the Burlington College board of trustees nearly a year after obtaining the multi-million dollar loan. After both sides lawyered up, the board gave Sanders the title of president emeritus and a $200,000 severance package. Sanders was president of Burlington College from 2004 to 2011.

The school paid $10 million for the land, which was also supported by a $3.5 million loan from the diocese. Plunkett went on to succeed Sanders as college president before she too was forced out last year as the college struggled financially.

Jane Sanders is currently working on her husband’s presidential campaign. She did not respond to several interview requests, nor did she answer a set of questions that were emailed to a campaign spokesman.

Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders greet supporters at Waterfront Park at the launch of Sanders' campaign in May. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger
Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, greet supporters at Waterfront Park at the launch of Sanders’ campaign in May. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

In the months before her departure from Burlington College, Sanders’ inability to secure the pledges she asserted were “valid and enforceable” in the loan document was just becoming clear. In the fiscal year that ended in June 2011, Burlington College received cash donations of only $279,000 — that’s less than a quarter of the $1.2 million Sanders listed as confirmed pledges for that period, and not even 15 percent of the total $2.3 million that included potential pledges.

Members of the college’s board of trustees have never publicly explained why Sanders was asked to leave, but former trustee Robin Lloyd told Seven Days that Sanders’ difficulty meeting fundraising goals was a factor in her resignation. Greg Guma, who covered Sanders departure for VTDigger, reported that former trustee Jonathan Leopold was unhappy with her fundraising just days before her resignation was announced in September 2011.

In a recent interview, Leopold praised Sanders’ leadership, but he acknowledged that at the time he and other trustees were concerned when the pledges didn’t materialize. Sanders and other school officials had given presentations to the board confirming the $2.6 million in pledges.

Leopold never saw the actual signed pledge agreements, but he believes “the representations that were made at the time were made in good faith.”

“In hindsight a problem like this is an orphan, and there a lots of people who want to lay it at the feet of a specific person,” Leopold said.

Leopold emphasized that other members of the administration were also responsible for the capital campaign’s failure and a weak economy was also a factor.

He offered no concrete reason for Sanders being asked to resign, saying only that personally he “felt it was time for a change.”

Adam Dantzcher, board chair at the time, said Sanders’ fundraising promises were not a factor at all, but he would not say what led to her ouster. Several other trustees who were on the board in 2011 declined to comment for this report.

$1M bequest misrepresented

A $1 million bequest is still on the Burlington College books as part of the $1.35 million the school is still owed in pledges, officials say.

Sanders, for reasons that are unclear, listed the bequest in the loan document as a pledge that would be paid in $150,000 increments over five years with a final $100,000 payment in year six.

The bequest could not be paid out on that schedule because a bequest is a donation stipulated in one’s will that is paid at the time of death.

Most pledges are akin to a contract, though many nonprofits are loath to enforce pledges that don’t materialize because it can hurt future capital campaigns and cast an organization in a negative light.

School officials affirmed that the bequest is still listed as a pledge on the college’s books. Auditors are using an actuarial table based on the donor’s age to calculate the net present value of the bequest, or how much less the $1 million will be worth when it is received by the college because inflation will have reduced its value. The other $350,000 in pledges won’t be collected for several years, said Gibson Smith, Burlington College’s chief financial officer.

That leaves close to $620,000 in uncollected pledges Sanders listed as confirmed in the loan agreement. School officials say they don’t expect to collect that money.

Current Burlington College president Dr. Carol Moore said her administration has no record of the pledges Sanders cited in the loan document. Moore has made no effort to reconcile the pledges Sanders recorded in the loan agreement with what was on the books when she took over in December 2014.

Carol Moore, interim president of Burlington College. Photo from Moore's consullting website.
Carol Moore, president of Burlington College. Photo from Moore’s consullting website.

“I’m not interested in wasting my time,” she said. If donors haven’t paid or made contact with the college for several years then it’s “highly unlikely” they will be honoring their pledges, she added.

Three months after Moore became president, the school sold 27 acres of the campus to developer Eric Farrell — a deal that was in the works prior to Moore becoming president. She refused to entertain questions about whether Burlington College could have held onto the land if the pledges Sanders listed were honored. Moore said her sole focus is the school’s future.

People’s United Bank, which declined multiple interview requests, also would not provide evidence that the confirmed pledges were valid. The loan officer at the time, Matt Mahoney, has left People’s and now works for a bank in Portland, Oregon. Mahoney declined to comment, saying to do so as former employee would be inappropriate.

It’s unclear if People’s United Bank made any effort to verify the contributions Sanders listed in the loan document.

VTDigger attempted to interview individuals listed as confirmed pledges in the loan document. Most refused to answer questions, but of those who did, two said their personal records show Sanders overstated their pledges.

Former trustees say their pledges were overstated

Former trustee Ron Leavitt is listed in a chart in the loan document as Rle (to differentiate him from another donor and former trustee Robin Lloyd). Next to his name is an ‘x’ in the confirmed donor column. His pledge is listed at $60,000 in two payments of $30,000 to be made in fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

Leavitt did make the first $30,000 contribution, and even discussed making a second gift of $30,000 with an official from the school, but he said in an email that he “certainly never made a full formal pledge of ($60,000).”

The campus of Burlington College on North Avenue in Burlington. Photo by Laura Krantz/VTDigger
The campus of Burlington College on North Avenue in Burlington. Photo by Laura Krantz/VTDigger

Mary Haas, Leavitt’s late wife, was a former trustee of the college as well, and was deeply involved with the school until her death in 2009, Leavitt said. He was interested in making an endowed gift with a naming option from her estate. But after discussions with his attorney, Leavitt discovered such a gift would not be tax deductible as it was not stated specifically in Haas’ will. Leavitt never made a further donation.

Michael Luck, whom Sanders hired as a vice president to assist with the college’s capital campaign, was the school official communicating with Leavitt at the time. He confirmed Leavitt’s version of events.

“He made it very clear he was juggling the estate business,” Luck said.

Luck was making regular reports to Sanders and other school officials about his progress on the fundraising campaign. Luck is a veteran of dozens of capital campaigns, he said. He’s also a principal at the fundraising consultancy Maple Leaf Management Group in Underhill. It’s typical to request of donors a signed letter for a formal pledge that includes the amount and over how many years it would be paid, he said.

Luck doesn’t recall ever soliciting such a letter for $60,000 from Leavitt, though he said he can’t be sure. Luck said he left files on the donors he worked with at the college. Current school officials said they had no such records.

Luck said he did not realize Leavitt was listed as a $60,000 confirmed contribution on the loan document. While he may have given Sanders a “hopeful” impression about the second $30,000, he does not recall telling her it was a “signed and sealed” pledge.

Former trustee Rob Michalak is a Burlington College alumni who now works at Ben & Jerry’s. Michalak is listed on the loan document as a $5,000 confirmed pledge. He recalls being asked to contribute to the school’s capital campaign along with other faculty and trustees.

However, he doesn’t recall pledging at the $5,000 level. After reviewing his own financial records, Michalak confirmed he did make a pledge and donation, but not for $5,000. He did not wish to share the actual amount of his contribution.

“It is curious,” Michalak said, that he would be listed at $5,000. Both Michalak and Leavitt said they were not aware their pledges were listed in the loan document.

The two former trustees’ pledged amounts are less than the $71,000 in pledges that Burlington College has written off in the past four years. School officials won’t confirm whether their pledges are among the writeoffs, citing their wish to keep donor records confidential.

Even if their pledges were written off, it appears they should never have been recorded as “valid and enforceable” in the loan agreement.

More information could reveal whether overstated pledges amount to fraud

There are two thresholds for proving that criminal fraud occurred under federal statutes, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney for Vermont Greg Waples, who has prosecuted such cases. Waples discussed what constitutes fraud using hypothetical examples, and did not address the Burlington College loan.

First, there must be a showing that the fraud was “knowingly and intentionally” committed, he said. Misstatements that result from ignorance or negligence don’t constitute criminal fraud, but could result in a civil action, Waples said.

In the case of Burlington College, it appears that Sanders overstated the pledges in the loan document, and misstated the nature of the $1 million bequest. Whether Sanders made misstatements intentionally or out of ignorance or negligence is unknown. VTDigger was unable to interview Sanders or Plunkett, and additional records were not available.

Secondly, prosecutors would need to show that the fraud was material, meaning that it could have impacted the plaintiff’s decision (in a case against Sanders or Burlington College, the plaintiff would be People’s United Bank). A showing of materiality doesn’t rely on whether the fraud did influence a plaintiff’s decision, only that it could have, Waples said.

The overstated pledges VTDigger has identified total less than $35,000, and would be unlikely to be considered material. However, close to $620,000 in confirmed pledges were never realized and are no longer being sought by the college, which means other pledges could have been overstated as well.

People’s United Bank is unlikely to pursue a civil action against Burlington College. That’s because, following the land deal with Farrell for $7.56 million, the school’s debt is greatly reduced and it’s in a better position to pay back the loan. A second deal to sell a former orphanage building on the North Avenue property to Farrell for $2 million will further improve the school’s financial position. That deal is expected to close in October.

If Burlington College were to have defaulted on the loan, the North Avenue property would have provided valuable collateral — the City of Burlington assessed it at $20 million.

The People’s United Bank loan was secured through the Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Financing Agency (VEHBFA), so that bonds with tax exempt interest could be issued to pay for the loan.

Over a five-year period, People’s United Bank remained the sole holder of bonds issued through the loan.

Because People’s continued to hold all of the debt, People’s and Burlington College were able to refinance the loan in January. As part of the new agreement, the bank terminated VEHBFA’s involvement and can no longer issue tax exempt bonds, according to Bob Giroux, VEHBFA’s executive director.

The new agreement offered the school greater flexibility for the lease or sale of the property, because the college was no longer bound by the public interest use requirements for tax exempt financing. That enabled the lakefront property to pass into the hands of a commercial developer.

Coveted lakefront property slated for large-scale housing development

Farrell eventually plans to build more than 700 housing units on the lakefront property, according to a Seven Days report. Plans are still solidifying, but the City of Burlington will likely have the opportunity to purchase 12 acres along the lake for a public park at a cost of $2 million.

Developer Eric Farrell presents his plans to the Development Review Board for a housing complex on property he purchased from Burlington College. Photo by Sarah Olsen/VTDigger
Developer Eric Farrell presents his plans to the Development Review Board for a housing complex on property he purchased from Burlington College. Photo by Sarah Olsen/VTDigger

Some city residents question the need for a large-scale housing project on the land. A group called Save Open Space Burlington is advocating for the land to be maintained as public space.

“Back when it was first announced that (Burlington College) would buy the land, I had hoped they would be stewards of the land,” said Ruby Perry, a member of Save Open Space.

Perry says the 12 acres of land slated for the park would be difficult to develop anyway, and she maintains the city is being shortsighted allowing the rest to become housing.

Burlington needs affordable housing, but Perry fears that Farrell’s development plans will largely benefit affluent residents.

Mayoral candidate and longtime Public Works director Steve Goodkind said a 12-acre public park is “going the right way,” but he wonders if more of the land couldn’t be preserved as open space, he said.

Vermont Land Trust President Gil Livingston told concerned residents at public meeting in August that while it could be possible to preserve more of the land, raising the $2 million already needed for a 12-acre park will be a challenge, according to the Seven Days report.

“There’s always a need for some type of development growth, and we do need housing. But there are areas that make this city what it is and the city and the developers don’t get that,” Goodkind said.

“Hopefully the battle is not over on this property,” he added.

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Morgan True

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  • Jim Christiansen

    Just great. Incompetence and fraud at all levels.

    The Burlington College Board of Trustees needs to called to account ASAP for their part in this fiasco. Jonathan Leopold’s involvement is reason enough to open an ethics investigation.

  • robert bristow-johnson

    well, overstating any specific promise of some other party is a no-no.

    but it wouldn’t be the first time in history that some exec overstated the present or future health or the size of the enterprise with all sorts of happy talk. seems to be in their DNA.

    • Neil Johnson

      It’s so much easier when it’s not your money or skin in the game.

      And a nice parachute for less then desirable results.

      Only in government and education (government)

      • Steven Stauffer

        Yeah, pretending that $200,000 in severance and earned sabbatical pay is a lot is kind of a nonstarter; I know that’s what the Republicans in the state are pushing in their drive to attack her husband, but please…

    • samuel shultis

      Just like Obama telling us our health insurance costs wouldn’t go up?

      • Bill Freidline

        My health insurance costs as the owner of a small business went down significantly, without receiving a subsidy.

        • Rich James

          Same here. And the PPACA personally saved my bacon from “hate my doctor but was trapped by a precondition.” Obama never said your private insurance with your free market capitalist insurer wouldn’t go up if you are not on the Exchanges. Did you really WANT him to nationalize your health insurance company? Because that’s what you’re implying.

  • Presenting false information to induce a loan from a financial institution is a very serious matter and possibly a crime.

    We don’t know the circumstances in this instance and what documented evidence Mrs. Sanders had to characterize the pledges as “likely”. Maybe she can produce that documentation. If she can’t, it certainly doesn’t look good given what has actually been paid. Then this matter would deserve further investigation.

    Now, remove Mrs. Sanders name and replace it with Wall Street Banker…….what do you suppose Bernie’s reaction would be?

    • ted cohen

      Bravo Mr. Yankowski.

      And VTDigger.

    • John Zuppa

      Why was Mrs. Sanders asked to resign?

      No Comment?

      A $200,000 severance package?

      Severance packages come with all resignations?

      Don’t ask Bernie…He’ll say …”That’s a local issue”…

      The classic villain….A wolf in sheep’s clothing!!

      No Comment?

    • Neil Johnson

      I forgot the wiz kids a wall street would get paid for this too….

      Maybe this is why small business is so out of vogue these days.

      Not nearly as much “fun:.

  • William Hays

    Surprised? Me? No.

  • A member of Leopold’s family received payment for what looks like some kind of trip or conference at “Andros Beach Club and Nathan’s Lodge” in 2011. It’s on the Burlington College 2011 Form 990. Description says “6 nights all inclusive stay at the resort for bahamas course”.

    Along with Jane Sanders’ daughter’s woodworking school receiving $133,000 for tuition payments for classes held there.

    Good work, if you can get it.

  • fred moss

    $200,000 severance package??? At little ole’ Burlington college??

    Bernie is campaigning on college being too expensive and now we learn this???

    What a fraud? Now we know why Bernie doesn’t call out Elizabeth Warren for getting paid 400k plus a year to teach one class.

  • Wendy Wilton

    This is an example of personal greed, at its worst, combined with hypocrisy. Defraud a lender, which in turn costs all consumers, then receive a huge exit package. Jane got what she could from the golden goose and flew the coop. Meanwhile her husband continues his assault on business and “corporate greed”.

    The trustees, professors, students and alumni of the college might be wise to encourage an open investigation to answer the many questions around the loan and land deal. It might be the only way to recoup the money the college will need to be viable for the future. The U.S. Attorney should be looking into this matter now that these questions have been raised. Where is VT AG Sorrell on this? Wouldn’t potential fraud be of interest to his office?

    The Sanders are takers not givers. The only money Bernie gives out is that taken from taxpayers–therefore the uninformed are made to feel he is generous.

  • ted cohen

    Excellent reporting Mr. Campion.

  • Wayne Andrews

    Just another example of liberal government trying to justify their actions by the end result justifying all.
    A one million dollar donation upon ones death sounds like financially extending oneself beyond the current ability, yes? The banks bought this line of crap?
    I would like to go into my neighborhood butcher’s store and ask for a prime rib and I will pay him when I am under the green sod.

    • Kathy Nelson

      “…a liberal government trying to justify their actions”? Like trying to justify that useless giant wind and solar being forced into communities that don’t want or need them is a “green” thing and will “save the planet”. Let’s get it right. Wayne. I have always known the Sander’s duo are playing the political game, and Bernie is one of the biggest threats to VT in the corporate welfare energy scams. Why is it such a surprise that his wife plays the same game?

  • Tom Burke

    Thank you Morgan True. I found your article well researched and a great example of investigative journalism that I find on Vt Digger.

    As to the Burlington College fiasco, this should have not played out as it did.

    Dr. Carol Moore inspires hope and perhaps new donors will appear help save the college.

  • Kim Fried

    Burlington College is very lucky to have Dr. Moore. If anyone can straighten out the problems she’s definitely the one that can.

  • Gary Murdock

    A whole lotta like minded individuals circling the wagons to protect one of their own, and unfortunately it appears that Peoples Bank is following suit. I now question their desire and ability to perform their fiduciary duties. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” As true today as it was when penned by Lord Acton in 1887, and applies to the leftist establishment in Vermont. This is one party rule in all it’s glory, and no party is immune.

    • Mary Roe

      A senator is a powerful creature, even if he claims he’s a socialist.

  • Genese Grill

    Jane Sanders is responsible for the college having to sell off the precious green space to Eric Farrel for 770 units of housing. She should be called upon to pay up the missing amount and work to save the land that her dishonesty and misdirection endangered.

  • dale tillotson

    J Leopold disappointed in Jane’s fundraising, D Tillotson was very disappointed at the fundraising of BT orchestrated by the raiding of the cash pool by J Leopold and B Kiss. That is the nicest thing I will say about J Sanders.

  • Christopher Daniels

    Mr. True,

    There were several things lacking in your story that would have given it more substance.

    First, there is no context for what is an acceptable rate of pledged to realized donations either before Ms. Sanders’ tenure or at other comparable institutions in the region. Surely, not all pledged donations become realized donations, but at what point does the rate become not acceptable?

    Another point to explore would be why pledged donations failed to material as promised. Was it because of a common reason? Or were there a diversity of reasons? And did these pledges fail to materialize due to Sanders specifically, or because of other underlying causes?

    Lastly, were pledges that failed to materialize from a number of pledged donors? Or from a few donors with large pledges?

    Without this information, this story reads as much great innuendo, which allows some readers of a certain political persuasion to draw very unflattering opinions about what happened. Careful readers see a situation that warrants much more scrutiny before conclusions can be made.

    • Fred Woogmaster

      This, in my opinion, is a valuable comment which includes a number of pertinent questions.

    • Ann Meade

      I have to agree that a lot of facts seem to be missing in this article. Also seems to me that if anyone is going to be held liable for the outcomes it should be People’s United Bank. They can yell fraud now but they did approve the loan.

    • I used to work in a fundraising office. The answer to your question is “It depends”, because the bigger the pledge made, the more unique the donor is – meaning not all pledges can be treated alike, even if they’re at six or seven or eight figures.

      Lots of pledges get written off – they’re either paid in part, or payments never made, both big and large pledges. In the case of Burlington College, it looks like what was counted as a pledge was never a formal promise to pay – because there is no supporting documentation on the pledge itself. Because these future promises to pay are part of every school’s revenue stream, but they are not 100% reliable in terms of receipt and timing of payment, the fundraising office will generally ask for and receive a written document or a signed document from the donor that details the promise to pay.

      Otherwise a lot of verbal pledges could be claimed by a fundraiser with no backup, and depending on what’s what, the fundraiser could be employed for a year or two before any of the “promised” pledge payments materialized – or failed to materialize. It’s a way for schools to protect both themselves and the donor from claims of false promises, etc.

      In terms of percentages of pledges that are written off, it’s all over the map – but don’t be shocked to learn that the number might be 50%. Burlington College has a tiny alumni pool, not a lot of big-name donors that have affiliations with the college, etc, so big claims about pledges being made by a president or board member, with no backup, should be looked upon by other board members as shaky, at the very least. They all have a fiduciary obligation to the College, and to me, they failed, not just regarding the pledges, but also regarding the financing of something they know they could not afford, and were obviously willing to risk the collateral of the property in exchange for what looks like a bridge loan.

    • Steve McKenzie

      All good questions which should have been considered by Ms. Sanders, etc., before putting an amount down on the loan application.
      The fact that they put a figure down that so grossly overstated the actual amount received indicates they a)didn’t discount the total pledges appropriately, b)they didn’t do any review/discounting and/or c)they intentionally overstated the line item.
      The first two represent gross mismanagement, the third is fraud.
      The same applies to the underwriting group at Peoples Bank.
      While it would be interesting to know the general discount rate of gross pledges to receipts, I’d be greatly surprised if it were close to 74% as in this case.

  • Rich Feeley

    This is a very sad story of incompetence, HUGE EGOS, and some old school stupidity. They blew it. Burlington College was never in a position to financially qualify to purchase this property from the Catholic Diocese, and anyone with even the slightest business sense knew that. The college never had, or would have had the ability to repay the debt, and it appears that the college’s President “cooked the books” to make it look like the college could/would survive this mountain of debt. It’s hard to believe that Mrs Sanders’ favorite politician, and their favorite well known Burlington real estate tycoon nudged Mrs Sanders down this path to failure for the college. In the end, the college, and the diocese got hammered financially; and Mrs Sanders got a big (undeserved) check, and a serious black eye to her reputation, and that of her husband. It appears to be “the blind leading the blind”, or “too many egos hurt the college”…

  • Fred Woogmaster

    “Open Mike”!

  • Robert Wyckoff

    Where is the concern for the college itself at the bottom of this long story speculating scandal and criminal intent? Why can’t this money be raised? We are sidetracked by gossipy stories focusing on personal failures and shortcomings. But where is the interest in raising the money this college needs to function and grow? Does anyone care about Burlington College?

  • Mary Roe

    I had been wondering why all of a sudden the press went so quiet about her, now I know.

  • Winifred McCarthy

    High praise for Morgan True, he has written an article worthy of The New Yorker. I encourage him to follow up on details he presents here, and possibly the history of the Sanders’ use of public monies vis a vis non profit organizations.

  • Cindy Cheney

    My take on this article is that after a lot of finger pointing and accusations the bottom line is no intent was proven and the verified amount is “immaterial”. Wow, way to skewer somebody with no proof.

  • This story assumes that everyone who was listed as pledging one amount but didn’t, is being fully truthful. I’ve found in my fundraising efforts that this simply is not the case. Someone may have truly wanted to pledge $60,000 at the time they spoke with Sanders and she may have taken them at their word. But after they paid $30,000, other demands on their funds may have arisen and priorities may have changed. Instead of saying they chose not to follow through on their pledge, they instead say that they had thought about it but didn’t commit to it.
    I’m not saying that’s what happened, but I’ve had plenty of occasions where recollections have been quite different, especially when one goes to collect the money. And often, these kind of pledges are done very low key and informal, partially because when you do pressure people with a signed contract requiring them to pay by a certain date, many will back out.
    I think it’s hard both to ascertain how likely “likely pledges really are, and whether or not any overstatement was intentional or just optimistic. I’d like to know whose idea it was to purchase the property in question and for what stated purpose on the college’s behalf. It doesn’t seem that it was Jane Sanders who orchestrated the purchase, but rather that she was handed the task of raising the funds for it, which is a difficult position to be in, if the college board, for instance (her boss) chooses to buy land and then tells her she has to come up with a certain amount of pledges or she loses her job. That’s a set up that leaves the board every bit as culpable as Sanders.

    • Rich James

      It’s also really obvious that people who pledged funds from 2010 to 2014 while Sanders was in charge changed their minds when Plunkett railroaded Sanders out in that 2011 witch hunt. Plunkett has a LOT of nerve for even implying that her destruction of the college’s financial credibility was the fault of the person she personally pushed out five years ago.

  • Stacie Greene

    The Sanders presidential campaign paid Peoples Bank $728,587.60 this year. Peoples Bank is apparently handling all payroll services & taxes for the Sanders campaign. Most of the charges are for “payroll services,” “payroll taxes”, “bank service fees” & “credit card rebates.”

    Just throwing that out there. It seems Peoples Bank & Sanders might have a long-standing mutually beneficial relationship, which might’ve influenced the bank’s decision to approve a loan for Jane Sanders based on some shaky finances.

    Source: FEC campaign expenditure report June 2015 – April 2016.

  • Rich James

    So let’s recap: Jane Sanders gets $2.6 million in pledges, collectible from 2010 to 2014, but is railroaded out in 2011. Those pledges don’t materialize under successor Christine Plunkett, who is reviled by almost everyone as incompetent, and it’s Jane Sanders who is at fault here.

    It’s interesting that in 2014, before Jane became famous, this entire thing was blamed on Plunkett, with VTDigger even writing a story titled “UNDER PLUNKETT’S TENURE, BURLINGTON COLLEGE FALTERS” and another one after that titled “PLUNKETT RESIGNS; BURLINGTON COLLEGE APPOINTS INTERIM LEADERS” that doesn’t mention Jane Sanders at all.

    I see now.

  • Jane n BERNIE NEVER Properly VETTED By Press. On Jane’s 2014Taxes Her JOB Was Listed As TLLRWD COMMISSIONER. TLLRWD Stands For TEXAS Low Level RADIOACTIVE WASTE Disposal COMMISSIONER. Sanders Makes Money Off WASTE SHIPPED FROM Maine n Vermont To Site In Texas 120Miles NE Of Sierra Blanca, Andrews County Texas. Fracking? NOTHING Compares To Shipping RADIOACTIVE Waste To Texas n Making Money Off It. I Truly Think It’s WHY SANDERS Doesn’t Want To Release Their 2015 Taxes.

  • You Bernie bots are nothing but sheep. Sanders is in the upper class of income. He is not an average citizen. he has no isea how it is to live in the lower clsass! He is a phoney!