Business & Economy

Documents suggest state ignored warnings about Jay Peak in 2012

Jay Peak: Tram Haus Lodge
Tram Haus Lodge was one of the early projects the Jay Peak developers built with money from the EB-5 program for immigrant investors.
State officials ignored warnings as long as four years ago that the Jay Peak developers had potentially misused immigrant investor funds, documents indicate.

Douglas Hulme, owner of the EB-5 consulting firm Rapid USA Visas, had the ear of state officials in May 2012, public records obtained by VTDigger show, and Hulme had challenged the very business practices that became part of the charges the Securities and Exchange Commission brought this year.

Emails among Hulme, Bill Stenger, who was the CEO and president of Jay Peak, and Lawrence Miller, then secretary of the commerce agency, show officials didn’t act on Hulme’s warnings and sought to discredit his company.

It wasn’t until 2015 — three years later — that the state opened an investigation. By that time, federal authorities were already a year deep into their investigation. And it wasn’t until April of this year that state and federal officials charged Stenger and Ariel Quiros with defrauding more than 700 immigrant investors in the EB-5 visa program.

Hulme’s allegations came on the heels of a very public fallout with Stenger. Hulme sent a letter to 100 immigration attorneys Feb. 28, 2012, warning that he no longer had “confidence in the accuracy of representations made by Jay Peak or in the financial status of and disclosures made by the various limited partnerships at Jay Peak.”

The press quickly picked up the story, and the breakup went viral. In response, James Candido, who was director of the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center at the time, spent a day at Jay Peak and declared in media reports that he found “no issues” with the company’s financials.

Behind the scenes there was a thread of communication between Hulme and Miller over Hulme’s concerns about whether Jay Peak’s financials were in compliance with state and federal laws.

Timeline

2012

February
Hulme asks Stenger for financials
Hulme writes letter of ‘no confidence’
May
Hulme alerts state officials to financial improprieties
Meeting between Miller, Moulton and Hulme
June
ACCD goes after Hulme

2014

January
SEC opens Jay Peak investigation
June
Moulton replaces Miller

2015

DFR takes over EB-5 regulation
State opens Jay Peak investigation

2016

April
SEC, DFR file charges

Privately, Candido was working to arrange a telephone conversation between Hulme and Miller. In an email obtained from the state by VTDigger, Candido explained to Hulme that Miller wanted “to discuss in detail the reasons for the departure from the Jay Peak project and (Hulme’s) direct concerns about the project that led to the company’s departure.”

In advance of the conference call, an attorney for Hulme explained to Candido by email that Rapid USA had concerns about “the expenditure and use of funds by the limited partnerships and reconciliation of accounts, including the transfer of funds.”

The attorney, Eugene Lindsey, had asked Stenger in February 2012 for balance sheets, bank statements and wire transfers, as well as the source and use of funds reports for the Jay Peak projects, according to email correspondence provided by the state. He also specifically asked Stenger to verify that he had not used investor monies to obtain margin loans — one of the SEC’s accusations — and that the developer provide Rapid USA with written assurances from legal counsel that the projects were in compliance with federal and state law. Stenger apparently did not provide the assurances Hulme requested, and on Feb. 28, Rapid USA terminated all business dealings with Jay Peak.

Depositions taken by the SEC of two accountants for Jay Peak show that Hulme was apprised of concerns they had about the way Quiros was using investor funds. One of the accountants alerted Hulme and Stenger in 2009 to bank statements that showed Quiros was using investor funds as collateral for loans. The SEC has said in its lawsuit that $105 million of investor monies was leveraged for speculative margin loans from 2009 to 2012.

Rapid USAs Visas CEO Douglas Hulme and Bill Stenger in happier times.
Rapid USA Visas CEO Douglas Hulme (left), a representative from Shen law firm (center), and Jay Peak developer Bill Stenger (right).

Another accountant told the SEC that in 2011 he found the developers were commingling funds and using money from new investors to pay for previous projects.

The scheduled phone meeting among Hulme, Miller and Patricia Moulton, who was then deputy commerce secretary, took place May 4, 2012, email correspondence shows. It is unclear what happened or what was said at the meeting. No meeting notes were released to VTDigger as part of a public records request made in 2015. In October, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell put state communication regarding Jay Peak on litigation hold, blocking public access.

The next communication after the meeting was between Stenger and Miller.

“James [Candido] briefed me somewhat on the Douglas [Hulme] call,” Stenger wrote May 17, 2012. “I wanted to ask your perspective on it, and if you want anything from me. I have a paper trail on all our interaction [sic]. If you would like that or anything else, please let me know.”

Miller replied: “I don’t feel a need for any further information at this point Bill. Everyone is fully consistent with each other.”

The secretary has said in the past he didn’t recall details from that time.

Shortly afterward, Candido left his post as regional center director, and Brent Raymond, a former staffer for U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, took his place in June 2012.

Later that month, state officials went after Hulme. Miller said Hulme was no longer authorized to use the state of Vermont logo on the Rapid USA website. (Jay Peak developers, on the other hand, continued to use the logo until the SEC stepped in.) In addition, Miller accused Hulme of marketing an EB-5 project at Mount Snow that had not yet been approved by the state. (Jay Peak marketed an office building in Newport for months without state approval.) In closing, he threatened to notify the Vermont attorney general.

In email communications, John Kessler, an attorney for the commerce agency, alleged the Florida consultant had used “Rapid’s web site to misrepresent that it is the State’s Regional Center.” The back and forth between the state and Rapid went on for a year and a half.

In September 2012, Stenger and Quiros held a daylong news conference in three locations to announce $600 million in additional EB-5 projects as part of the Northeast Kingdom Initiative. They envisioned a large trail expansion at Jay Peak, a new hotel and conference center at Burke Mountain, a biomedical facility in Newport, a window manufacturing plant, and an office building, marina and conference center in Newport. Gov. Peter Shumlin, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Welch were all present for the event.

Lawrence Miller, chief of health care reform. Photo by Morgan True
Lawrence Miller. File photo by Morgan True/VTDigger

The media event occurred just four months after Hulme’s meeting with Miller and Moulton to discuss his concerns about potential fraud at Jay Peak.

The state began investigating the finances at Jay Peak in March 2015, and eventually helped the SEC get to the bottom of how Quiros and Stenger allegedly used 26 shell companies, more than 100 bank accounts and 100,000 bank transactions to perpetrate fraud.

Tony Sutton, part of a group of early investors in Jay Peak, is frustrated. He says the state moved too slowly to stop the activity and knowingly put immigrant investors at risk.

Sutton himself began sounding alarms two years ago, and since then he has learned that the state knew much more, much earlier.

“It looked to us that back in 2012 there was enough evidence or allegations or suspicion for the state to actually mount an investigation of what was going on,” Sutton says.

Sutton says state officials lost an opportunity to conduct a “real investigation before it got out of hand.”

“Too many people seem to have turned a blind eye, and that’s the thing that (investors are) particularly aggrieved about,” Sutton says. “All this could have blown up in early 2012.”

Fifteen months after the Hulme-Miller phone meeting, Sutton and other investors in the Tram Haus Lodge lost their ownership stake when Stenger and Quiros converted their shares into unsecured loans without their knowledge in August 2013.

Tony Sutton
Tony Sutton was an investor in the Tram Haus Lodge at Jay Peak Resort. Courtesy photo

“From what I’ve seen on redacted emails that we’ve had access to, it’s completely clear that Lawrence Miller, especially, was very involved in the discussion between Bill Stenger and Douglas Hulme,” Sutton adds. “From my point of view, looking at that information, it seems very clear to me that Miller, particularly, knew a lot more and did nothing, which from my point of view, had he acted at that point, he could have saved our hotel from being seized.”

Miller referred VTDigger to Moulton for comment.

Moulton said the Agency of Commerce and Community Development “did raise questions back in 2012 with the projects that were within ACCD’s limited investigatory powers.”

“The project’s nonresponsiveness led, in part, to the decision to shift oversight responsibilities to the Department of Financial Regulation, which has more expansive authority in these matters,” Moulton said.

“While individuals such as Douglas Hulme may have raised questions previously, his credibility and motives in raising those concerns were marred by his ties to the projects,” she said. “For example, he was told many times to cease activity in which he falsely marketed his company, Rapid USA Visas Inc., as the Vermont Regional Center.”

When the Tram Haus investors found out in May 2014 about the conversion of their ownership stakes to IOUs, they reached out to state officials for help and complained they had been defrauded by Stenger and Quiros. But instead of acting on investors’ concerns, Raymond, at the regional center, pushed back, and Moulton, who replaced Miller as commerce secretary in June 2014, defended Stenger. In a commentary submitted later that year, Moulton insisted that a story by VTDigger was inaccurate and that “Stenger’s action was not in conflict with any federal law or regulations enacted for the EB5 program.”

In correspondence, Moulton told investors that the developers had not violated partnership agreements and there was nothing the state could do to help. She recommended the investors seek recourse in the courts.

Sutton says the investors chose not to pursue a legal challenge because “it would be heard in Stenger’s backyard.”

At the same time, Moulton asked Sutton to provide proof of the investors’ allegations. A month later, Sutton sent bank statements to the state that showed loans secured against investor funds and transfers of Tram Haus money to Q Resorts, one of Quiros’ companies. Moulton never responded, according to Sutton.

“The whole time, they [Raymond and Moulton] were just defending Jay Peak,” Sutton says. “There was never a point where I was thinking they’re actually going to take us seriously and carry out an investigation.”

Emails released by the state in 2015 showed that Moulton and Raymond suspended two projects — Q Burke and AnC Bio Vermont — in the summer of 2014 after the Jay Peak developers refused to respond to requests for financial documents. Lacking subpoena power, the agency was unable to obtain bank statements.

Frustrated by the lack of financial documentation, the agency and Shumlin decided to bring in the Department of Financial Regulation to oversee the projects. In January 2015, the agency signed an agreement with DFR and asked securities regulators to manage oversight of AnC Bio and Q Burke.

Also in January 2015, Mike Pieciak, the deputy commissioner of financial regulation, asked Stenger’s lawyer a general question about Treasury bill purchases and outstanding margin loans listed on a statement from the financial services firm Raymond James.

Mark Scribner, of Primmer Piper Eggleston and Cramer, who represented Jay Peak, made a statement in a letter a month later that piqued Pieciak’s interest: “I want to emphasize that all of the projects are standalone. None share financials or financial returns.”

Michael Pieciak
Michael Pieciak, the former deputy commissioner of financial regulation, is now the commissioner. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger

Pieciak, who is now commissioner of financial regulation, said in an interview last week that a statement made by David Gordon, an attorney for Jay Peak who is now representing Quiros in the SEC suit, provided another clue. Gordon advised that the developers used Treasury bills because the FDIC insures funds only up to $250,000 and they wanted to protect investors in the event of a bank failure.

That didn’t add up, Pieciak said, because bank accounts are fully protected.

That was the watershed moment for Pieciak in which “trust was starting to erode,” and DFR began subpoenaing bank statements from Raymond James, Citibank, People’s United Bank, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, HSBC and Sun Trust.

From March 10, 2015, until April 14 this year, Pieciak and a team of six staffers worked with SEC investigators and pored over more than 130,000 pages of financial documents.

The ongoing investigation, however, didn’t stop the state from allowing the developers to solicit new investors for the AnC Bio and Q Burke projects.

On April 4, 2015, the Department of Financial Regulation gave Stenger and Quiros partial approval to market AnC Bio overseas. Shumlin helped to negotiate the deal, told the developers they would be able to continue the project, and promised to issue a news release reprimanding VTDigger for alleged inaccuracies in a story about the biomedical facility.

Susan Donegan, the commissioner of financial regulation at the time, required that the new investor money be placed in escrow and that the developers obtain permission from the state for expenditures. Donegan declined to issue the news release Shumlin requested.

The partial approval process was designed to protect investor funds, but it’s unclear whether the 34 people whose $500,000 investments were put in escrow for AnC Bio Vermont will get their money back anytime soon.

AnC Bio, the last project proposed, drew $500,000 investments from 197 investors, making it by far the largest of the proposed projects. The original 163 investors put their money in before the escrow requirement.

The project hasn’t been built. When the SEC filed charges, federal litigators declared AnC Bio “nearly a complete fraud.”

The court-appointed receiver overseeing Stenger’s and Quiros’ holdings in Vermont, Michael Goldberg, said the federal district court in Miami will decide how the $17.5 million collected from the investors whose money the state held in escrow will be disbursed.

The immigration status of more than half of all the investors in the Jay Peak projects is in jeopardy.

Despite the investigation, the Department of Financial Regulation also gave partial approval to a hotel and fitness center at Q Burke in July 2015. The state, Pieciak said, wanted to make sure there were funds to complete the hotel construction. Under EB-5 rules, investors cannot get permanent U.S. residency or get their money back unless each development meets job creation targets.

Moulton said “hindsight can be 20/20.”

Pat Moulton
Commerce Secretary Patricia Moulton is stepping down soon. File photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

“As the governor said when the state and federal governments filed the complaints in this matter, we all wish we could have caught the alleged fraud earlier,” Moulton said Monday. “However, no one should forget that it is because of state and federal investigations that this alleged fraud was discovered and that filings were made. It is because of state oversight that the expenditures for the Burke hotel were rigorously examined and AnC Bio investor funds were placed in escrow where they remain to this day. Many people have been harmed by the alleged fraud in the Northeast Kingdom, including investors, subcontractors and entire communities.”

More than a dozen investors interviewed by VTDigger say the primary reason they bought into the Jay Peak, Burke and AnC Bio Vermont developments was because of the state’s stamp of approval. They believed the state was monitoring the projects and reviewing the developers’ finances. Stenger and Quiros told them their money would be held in escrow.

Investors were told the state was monitoring the projects; marketing materials from the developers bore the state’s logo; and prominent state politicians vouched for the projects. Gov. Jim Douglas, Leahy and Shumlin traveled overseas to talk with investors about Jay Peak and the state’s EB-5 program. Shumlin appeared in a promotional video for Jay Peak in which he said the projects were “audited” by the state. The governor has since said he “misspoke.”

In an August 2014 interview with the Argus Leader, a newspaper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Raymond, the regional center director, said once a project is approved “we look for any evidence of improper marketing, any evidence of anything even becoming potentially questionable, and we quickly seek out solutions to immediately take care of any concerns that we have.”

Raymond told the Argus Leader that by running its own program, Vermont accepts liability for investor risk.

Documents show the state did not require quarterly reports from Jay Peak until late 2014 and did not obtain financial information until 2015.

Sutton, who is the unofficial spokesman for the Tram Haus Lodge investors, says they are contemplating a lawsuit against the state.

Sutton says the state has not taken responsibility for its lack of oversight and disregarding information Hulme brought to their attention in 2012. Moulton continues to say the state has the best EB-5 regional center in the country.

The Jay Peak scandal is the biggest EB-5 fraud case ever brought by the SEC, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

“I don’t want to speculate on the potential motivation (state officials) might have had,” Sutton says. “You’d like to believe they had the best of intentions and the whole project from their point of view was of great benefit to the state of Vermont. But that’s not what they were paid to do. The offices they held meant they had an obligation to really find out if there was a problem or not.”

Instead, Shumlin has portrayed his administration as champions who played a key role uncovering the alleged fraud.

Moulton, now the commerce secretary, who is stepping down at the end of this month, deflected blame onto Quiros and Stenger in an interview with Vermont Public Radio last week.

“Let’s put the anger at the folks who actually committed the crime,” Moulton said.


If you read us, please support us.

Comment Policy

VTDigger.org requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harrassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer.

We moderate every comment. Please go to our FAQ for the full policy.

Anne Galloway

Recent Stories

  • Bruce S. Post

    Back in 2011, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce named Bill Stenger “Citizen of the Year.”

    From the news release:

    “Bill Stenger’s innovation and determination have invigorated the economy in the Northeast Kingdom, providing excellent jobs to many in Vermont’s most rural region,” said Betsy Bishop, President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. “With each commitment, he has shared his entrepreneurial spirit and savvy business skills throughout the state, emerging as a dean of tourism and economic development. Bill’s vision and energy continue to be an inspiration to all.”

    I imagine, in the words of Nixon’s press secretary Ron Ziegler, the above statement is “no longer operative.”

  • Steve Merrill

    “How do you get to Jay Peak?” asks the Flatlander, “just drive north until you smell it, then west until you step in it” says the local, who actually looked up these “companies” like Anc-Bio on Yahoo Business WAY back in 2009. But, “The HELL with the Naysayers” said Billy last fall. “Anger at the folks who actually committed the crime” says Pat? Why no “arrests” then? And why the cushy $2,000/week “job” for Stenger? The smell just keeps getting WORSE. SM, N.Troy.

    • Joe Perry

      Steve,
      Don’t you wish the people voting thumbs down would have the guts to reply and explain they disagree with what sees obvious to the rest of us? I mean maybe we are all delusional to think laws should be followed?

  • Anne Thank You for keeping this conversation going, They all need to be held accountable! Billy bill is taking the typical Stenger way out and only thinking of himself. The truth will come out overtime. I think Moulton forgets she put more investors at risk by allowing them to continue to raise capital while not communicating about the ongoing investigation. Lawsuits are coming aganist the state and shumlin should have to pay for them. Shumlin had a key role in hiding the fraud and giving Jay Peak an advantage at solisting investors. Justice needs to be served for all accountable in allowing this to go on for to long.

  • christopher hamilton

    Like the layers of an onion…….VTDigger reveals the process of crony capitalism run horribly aomk.

    • Jim Candon

      Only after the SEC stepped in and brought charges did the Vt media report any of this. The media in Vt typically carry the water for the politicians and then act shocked when things go wrong. Another example of carrying water for the politicians is the opiate epedimic. Has any politician been held responsible for allowing drug abuse to get so out of hand right under their collective noses? Nope. The media and the politicians were mutually excited and sidetracked to get marijuana legalized. The same media carried the water for Vt Health Connect, Burlington Telecom, and Burlington College until they all went down in flames.
      One of Vermont’s biggest problems is the lack of fair and balanced and objective reporting by the media, and that includes Vt Digger.

      • VTDigger was on this story in July 2014.

      • Bruce Wilkie

        If you had of depended on wcax, you’d still be in the dark. Worst news on the planet.

        • David Dempsey

          Bruce,
          Right on the money. If a news story isn’t one of the mandatory daily feel good animal reports or raising awareness about anything under the sun, it probably won’t make the editors cut. Calling the 6:00 telecast news is being very generous to channel 3.

  • Pat Moulton said “Let’s put the anger at the folks who actually committed the crime”.

    This is the equivalent of a prison guard who was sleeping on the job while prisoners escaped and then blaming the prisoners for escaping because he was sleeping.

    And the Governor is putting Ms. Moulton into another big state job supposedly because of the great job she did overseeing the EB-5 program.

    What we’ve witnessed over the past six years is too unbelievable to be true. It’s got to be all fantasy made up by the vtdigger to increase readership….. right?

    • Ann Meade

      Mouton and general counsel John Kessler knew exactly what was going and did not have the backbone to expose Stenger. Bill Stenger has been treated like royalty by ACCD, Tourism, the Governor’s office (over many administrations). He is trying to come off as this sweater wearing grandpa shuffling around Jay now, but has had everyone running scared over the years that Jay is the salvation of NEK and if you do something I don’t like, I will run to the press and Leahy”s office. And allowing Moulton to move on to VTC is just wrong.

    • Richard Roderick

      I said it last week, and I will say it again this week. As an alumni of VTC, having Ms Moulton named as VTC’s new President scares me. This revolving door of people not doing their job and then moving to another high profile job needs to stop.

    • Kim Fried

      Shumlin and Moulton were driving the escape car and should be held responsible for their complicity and involvement in this fiasco.

  • Dave Bellini

    The Shumlin administration has a proven pattern of ignoring warnings: They ignored state employees when they raised safety concerns, they ignored reality when they pretended to build a single payer model, they ignored experts and refused to build an adequate mental hospital and they have ignored anyone and everyone who ever warned them about cost.

    • Joanie Maclay

      RIGHT ON THE MARK, Dave Bellini.
      I reply at a,much later date, but this is have the answer.
      Our current Vt. Gov. has been quoted as saying he was born “without a fear gene”! I believe it has,been proven over & over again during gusts tenure. Thank you for staying vigil and on top of the CRAP THATS has been handed done. You are worth your weight in gold.
      Stay after this mess until all is satisfactorily cleaned up!!!

  • Pete Novick

    2012?

    Good grief! State authorities were made aware of Stenger and Quiros’ actions in 2008.

    Here’s an excerpt from the SEC civil complaint against Quiros and Stenger:

    “65. In conjunction with those transfers, MSSI representatives on June 18 [2008] wrote a letter to the Raymond James broker, with copies to Quiros and Stenger, among others, explaining that the funds in the MSSI Raymond James Suites Phase I account were investor funds. The letter further stated the investor money could only be used in the manner specified in the Suites Phase I limited partnership agreement and could not be used in any way for Q Resort’s purchase of Jay Peak.”

    https://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/2016/comp-pr2016-69.pdf

    (MSSI was the seller in the Jay Peak transaction.)

    Undoubtedly, the “among others” cited in the paragraph above includes Vermont state agencies, including the EB-5 Regional Center.

    And here’s an excellent article from Seven Days by Paul Heintz.

    http://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2016/04/20/jay-peak-prosecutor-has-close-ties-to-shumlin-leahy

    So….which state officials got a coy of the letter? And what actions did they take in response?
    If US Attorney Eric Miller and Vermont AG Bill Sorrell would stop stonewalling and start taking depositions, maybe we would learn more.

    I asked my dog the other day what he thought of all this and his response was predictable:

    Barf, barf!

    • Neil Johnson

      The entire state is run like this so nobody thought it was a problem. Welcome to Vermont’s fiscal twilight zone.

      This will be a billion dollar scam before the day is over. The investors could at least get citizenship, it was the only reason they were doing this investment, and the builders could get paid, and people in charge could be fined or go to jail, lose their jobs. But I bet none of this occurs.

      One of the major problems going on is people are falling into the trap that the DNC and the RNC, depending upon your preference is the source for ethics and values, done on an unconscious level. The parties like to keep people in step and following the party line, witness how Bernie was supported within the state by democrats vs. citizens and now on the federal level.

      With the democratic party in total control of Vermont and people thinking it is the highest level for ethics and values you don’t question anything. There are much higher levels of values and ethics, one being our state and federal constitution, natural law and then the highest being the Judeo-Christian values that were the formation of Western Civilization.

      This is only the tip of the iceberg….we have the lobbyists that aren’t even being discussed.

  • Keith Milne

    Thanks for further insight into how this scandal evolved, Ms. Galloway.

    This alleged fraud was possible both because of Vermont’s failure to regulate, but also a lack of oversight built into the EB-5 program at the federal level. When other EB-5 projects around the country started showing abuse, long before Jay Peak, Washington didn’t fix it.

    My Dad called on Senator Leahy to release his office’s communications and travel schedules with the principals in government and the private sector related to the EB-5 scandal over two months ago:
    http://vtdigger.org/2016/05/09/milne-calls-on-leahy-to-release-all-eb-5-communications/

    We are still waiting for our good Senator to come clean with what he knew, when he knew it, and what he did or didn’t do about it. Remember, the U.S. Senate is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act!!

  • Joe Perry

    The saddest thing about all this is that WE the taxpayers WILL pay huge fines to make whole the investors, and yet NO ONE in state government will be held accountable. Yet my sister in law wonders where the Trump movement gets its anger.

    Why is this all not a major campaign issue?

    Why is Lt Gov Phil Scott not loudly demanding a investigation into the state gross mismanagement? Once again proving he’s a RINO. Why is Bruce Lisman not stating he will open a investigation into the states criminally inadequate supervision? I at least understand why no Democrat candidate wants to point out what a complete cluster **** the states supervision of this whole affair.

    The lawyers are just waiting for the SEC to finish, then the State of Vermont will be sued and we will lose $400 million plus. I bet that will put some pressure on the state budget. But by all means lets detract the people with concerns about affordable housing and Gun control.

    They say sunlight is the best disinfectant, but the corruption is so deep (and in denial) in Vermont that it appears to be pitch black outside.

    • Marie Parker

      I agree! It would be nice to hear form the up and coming as to what they feel should be done. It sure would paint a picture for where we could be heading. Right now its all financial gloom and doom.

  • I recall making the comment “Dig, dig, dig…” awhile ago, thinking that a lot of digging happened for both the foundations of so much large scale construction…, by the 26 various “companies” formed with requisite corporate filings for each with the state such as my own out-of-state business has to fulfill for just one small enterprise concern. Now why would I need 26 individual firms and formal filings when one is already on the state revenue radar?? Hmmm, let’s think about this…. “Dig, dig, dig” – great start for a legacy folk song perhaps”
    Better keep digging for the rest of that one…

  • Anne:
    I have been following your story about the EB5 scandal religiously and want to than you for the thorough reporting you have done. Seems like Vermont is a a good example of what is happening in our country….personal greed at the expense of the common man. The people in Vermont government who we put our trust in have really let us down yet are not held accountable…in the case of Moulton she just “steps down” and gets another well paying state job. I have lost my faith in many of the officials who are supposed to be protecting us from people like Stenger and Quiros

  • fred moss

    Miller. There is that name again. Hmnnn

  • David R. Black

    Absolutely, great reporting by Anne Galloway.
    I love reading the truth for once, but be careful that someone at The State of Vt doesn’t offers you a job there that you can’t refuse.

  • Bruce Wilkie

    Peter Shumlin is the third leg in this crooked stool. He should be prosecuted along with the other two “Great Men”

  • David Tucker

    If you look up a definition of narcissistic personality, see https://www.bpdcentral.com/narcissistic-disorder/hallmarks-of-npd/
    I think you will see a lot of parallels with our current governor. If, like Shumlin, you believe that you are so special you can do anything you want, it is not hard to see how these things happen. Start with a good idea, perhaps, but once the path is chosen, there is no way this type of person can admit they were wrong. And so when the great idea begins to look like a bad one, the narcissist just pushes forward, and those who back that person get sucked into the vortex at the cost of their own self respect. Any of these people could have spoken out sooner, and some did, but was the governor listening, or were those in a position to stop it too afraid to tell the Emperor that he has no clothes? A lot of otherwise good people hitched their wagon to this emperor and as a consequence will someday have to reconcile their own behavior, or lack thereof, and ask if it was all worth it, and by then I’d be surprised if they think it was. By then the Emperor will be sunning himself in Dominica while the many problems he has created for this state continue to,pull us all down. Attaboy, governor Shumlin.

  • Jim Manahan

    “Let’s put the anger at the folks who actually committed the crime, Moulton said.”

    That would certainly be convenient for Ms. Moulton and Mr. Miller, both of whom are complicit in the lack of oversight, while basically cheerleading this fiasco in the face of substantial concerns being expressed by Mr. Hulme and Mr. Sutton.

    • David Tucker

      When it hits the fan, watch as these people are thrown under the bus. I’m not making excuses for anyone, but in the end, it won’t be Shumlin who gets the shaft.

  • Jeff Nichols

    I’ve listen to Anne Galloway discuss the time period between Hulme’s warning the State of his concerns and the several years later it took for the State to start an investigation. I believe Anne was getting pressure directly from the Shumlin Administration to ease up on the investigative reporting during this time. Anne, can you expand on this? To listen to Shumlin speak to how the State stepped in to save the day and take zero responsibility is disingenuous to say the least.

    • Jim Manahan

      The state only stepped in during the third quarter when it was obvious they could not ignore the growing problem any longer.

      • Neil Johnson

        And if I recall the Governor had already said I’m not running again…..

    • Neil Johnson

      I know several publications that refused to print the Dodge story, for months despite the concrete evidence that was given. It’s often about money. How much do the political parties spend on advertising every two years. Where does most of your money come from? Who are your masters?

  • Rod West

    A huge influx of jobs and building proves very hard for any politician to resist. What is the alternative, be the person who nixed a billion dollars worth of investments in the state? It could be much more nefarious than that, but that is enough to explain much of the process.

    City of Burlington Beware! A pending $200 million dollar commercial investment in your city core deserves all the scrutiny you can muster, and then some.

  • Anne say it ain’t so! The State Government fell asleep? All rats have jumped off the ship and are safely in New State jobs? WOW !
    So much material – So many that have looted our State

  • Bruce Wilkie

    Too bad it ain’t a crime to build up false hope in a poverty stricken population.

  • Donna Boutin

    Amazing how they kept throwing Douglas Hulme under the bus, amazing how the top officials all knew what was going on but put blinders on….must be they were being paid off.. sure sounded like it..given information and swept it under the rug, Leahy, Sanders, Welch and shummy all knew about it, don’t think they didn’t..were their palms greased too?? Bet they were..Every one who knew about this should be arrested..Stop and think about the contractors who bought the materials, hired the workers who aren’t getting paid..they are getting the shit end of the deal..but Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros are living high off the hog still..lets not forget the other liars who were in on this cover up..But knowing the justice system they all will get a slap on the wrist and maybe a little fine and send on their merry way..

  • Krista Conley

    And why has Ms. Moulton been appointed interim President of VTC? Do the same people just shift roles? What about a new face for the school and the students?

    • Richard M Roderick

      Yes, Why was Ms Moulton appointed interim President of VTC? And she said she is going to apply to become President. Dan Smith, current VTC President, has put VTC on the road to recovery, I only hope it doesn’t unravel under Moulton. It is amazing how everything in Vermont is connected. David Wolk Pres. of Castleton State and Jeb Spaulding, now Chancellor of Vt State Colleges, served in the Vt State Senate together, in the late 90s early 2000s. 14 years later Castleton becomes a “University” while Spaulding is Chancellor, making it “better” than Johnson and Lyndon State college. Now Johnson and Lyndon will merge – but the new Castleton University is not part of the deal, Neither is VTC. Wolk keeps his job, the President of Johnson becomes the new President of Lyndon Johnson College, Pat Moulton becomes President of VTC and the President of Lyndon takes a job at Southern Connecticut State University. It makes my head spin like a revolving door.

  • J. Scott Cameron

    I can imagine the Conversation between governor Shumlin and and Mr. Miller. ” Larry, you’ve done such a great job at Jay Peak with the EB5 program that I want you to be my guy to straighten out the damn healthcare exchange mess.”

    • Jim Manahan

      If Shumlin were smart he would have selected a tall, handsome and well seasoned attorney from the Barre area….:-)

  • Joe Torter

    Probably nothing affects the ” citizens at large ” of Orleans county more than the aborted Main Street project. Townspeople, merchants and visitors are in daily contact with this depressing site. One could speculate that this project may have been conceived strictly to gather EB5 investments to perpetuate the Ponzi-Like scheme. And the State Government had some involvement !

    The time has come for the State Government to step up and rectify this horrible condition. Extract this project from EB5 and create something that would benefit the community.

    • walter moses

      Let’s give all the supposed state regulators for EB-5 shovels and wheelbarrows and have them create a park at the “main street project”. Stenger can be the “boss” as usual. Shummy would make a good foreman. Miller can bring coffee and donuts.
      Thank God for Anne Galloway, this whole pot of corruption could have been covered up by our elected officials.

      • Joe Perry

        I agree it’s great VTDIGGER has brought this to light, but this is still being legally covered up. NO ONE in state government is being held responsible, the Feds strangely hoping no one notices the fact that state officials broke the law, and everyone in charge is retiring or getting new cushy jobs. We will all act surprised 2 years from now when the state of Vermont IS HELD liable for damages.

        You cannot make this stuff up!

        • I agree 100% Joe, that’s the way things role. The Wealthy and the Ruling Class just keep moving along. The Wealthy because they can and the Ruling Class is allowed to jump for Job to Job, agency to agency, department to department.
          But if people like Louise Leaner don’t lose their job or see jail time, why would Vermont state employees think they need to be ethical. Some people wonder why Trump is popular?

  • Phyllis Alberici

    Once again we have this behind the scenes pork barrel roll going on between Shumlin and Stenger et al dating back to at least 2012, if not earlier. Let’s talk about the trips to S. Korea to “promote VT” that Shumlin took via private jet with this crowd. A full scale US Attorney’s office investigation should be conducted to find out how complicit he and his administrative team have been since he was elected in 2012. At the least there are questions about the ethics involved in wholesale pandering to a private interest. Shumlin and his cronies sold out the people of Newport by promising gold and giving them a hole in the ground. I hope this man is never elected to office in Vermont again.

  • Another good story, Anne. What is the next chapter?
    Have any state officials who complained of Digger inaccuracies apologized yet?

  • Craig Gilborn

    Well done narrative, but relies on “state officials” without identification. It was the administration and longtime AG that failed to act in 2012, as it seems to me. And where was the Rutland Herald?