Citibank has interest in Quiros funds

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

After only a couple of weeks on the job, the receiver for Jay Peak, Burke Mountain, and other businesses owned by Ariel Quiros seems to have things well under control.

In a news conference on Wednesday, April 27, Michael Goldberg said he now has enough money to keep Jay Peak operating and to get the new hotel at Q Burke open.

“All we need is snow,” the Florida lawyer said, sounding exactly like the ski area owner he suddenly became when federal Judge Darrin Gayles of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida appointed him.

In doing so he gave Mr. Goldberg control of assets belonging to Mr. Quiros and his companies, including his bank accounts.

Since his appointment, he has asked for further authority, including control of Burke Mountain and its associated companies, and Judge Gayles agreed.

Mr. Quiros disputes the charges against him, and will first argue his case in a hearing scheduled for…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Brownington votes to keep the three-person select board

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail 

BROWNINGTON — Voters here have once again decided that they want a three-member select board. They voted 39-37 at a special meeting Saturday in favor of the smaller board.

At Town Meeting in early March, Brownington voters decided to go back to having a three-person select board. At the previous year’s Town Meeting, they had voted to increase the number of select board members from three to five.

The problem with the vote at Town Meeting this year was that some spoiled and blank ballots may have made it invalid, Moderator Pat Davis said.

So on Saturday Brownington residents poured into the school gym to vote on the question one more time.

The warning was in two parts: Should the town reconsider the Town Meeting decision, which in effect meant going back to a five-person select board, and if so, to elect two new members for the board?

Before the vote, there seemed to be some confusion in the room…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Newport City Council: Water committee recommendations adopted

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — At their meeting Monday city council members heard and adopted the recommendations of the water committee they appointed last year.

Last year in May the council set up a study group to investigate ways to get all homes in the city fitted with water meters. Proponents of the idea had long argued for charging city residents for the actual amount of water they use, rather than charging a set quarterly fee regardless of usage.

Doing so would encourage conservation, they said, and make sure that everyone on the city system pays a fair share of its cost.

The issue has long been contentious, and in a citywide advisory vote in 2011 Newport residents turned a metering proposal down by a two-to-one margin.

The committee’s recommendations gave those who choose to have meters installed in their homes some economic incentive to do so, but stopped well short of taking any concrete measures to cut into the 1,100 or so homes that pay a flat rate for water.

Instead, the group proposed basing rates on what it called an equivalent unit. That unit…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Judge drops murder charge against Baird

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

ST. JOHNSBURY — Judge Michael Kupersmith has decided that the third man charged in the 2010 killing of Mary Pat O’Hagan of Sheffield will not be tried for first-degree murder. Keith Baird, 35, of Sheffield will still be tried for burglary and kidnapping, but not in Caledonia County.

Mr. Baird, who pled innocent to the charges in March of 2014, has also filed notice that he intends to argue he has an alibi showing he was not present when the 78-year-old Mrs. O’Hagan was shot during a break-in at her Sheffield home.

Although two other men who have already pled guilty to involvement in Mrs. O’Hagan’s death have said Mr. Baird was with them at her house, he denies it. Mr. Baird said through Robert Katims, his lawyer, that he was wearing a GPS tracker at the time of crime.

The tracking device, he said, shows he was not present at Mrs. O’Hagan’s house on September 10, when she was shot during an attempted burglary.

At the hearing…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Jay Peak is alarmingly short of money

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copyright the Chronicle April 27, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

Jay Peak may not have enough money to keep going through the summer, said Michael Goldberg, the Florida lawyer put in charge of overseeing the collection of EB-5 projects centered around the ski resort.

“I have learned that the Receivership Entities are in dire financial position and in danger of not having sufficient funds to continue operating beyond the very immediate future,” he wrote in a declaration directed to the U.S. District Court for Southern Florida.

Mr. Goldberg was given control of Jay Peak and the other assets of its owner, Ariel Quiros, by federal judge Darrin Gayles on April 13.  As the court-appointed receiver he has been investigation the finances of a network of companies connected with Jay Peak’s EB-5 project as well as those of the ski resort itself.

The SEC has alleged that Bill Stenger and Mr. Quiros misused about $200-million of…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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EB-5: Suspicions arose in 2010

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copyright the Chronicle April 27, 2016

by Tena Starr

A suspicious Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) started questioning Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros, owner of Jay Peak and Q Burke, back in May of 2014.  But they weren’t the only ones who were suspicious, and they certainly were not the first.

Four years earlier, in 2010, John Carpenter, who was then controller at the ski area, told Mr. Stenger he believed something was awry, according to SEC documents.  For one thing, he could not get access to the accounts at financial services company Raymond James, held by Mr. Quiros, which he’d repeatedly asked for, he told the SEC in a so-called “declaration.”

Mr. Carpenter’s quotes here come from that document.

The SEC is alleging that the Northeast Kingdom EB-5 projects were actually a giant Ponzi-like scheme, in which $200-million of…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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DUI formula too simplistic

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copyright the Chronicle April 27, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – State forensic experts will have to rewrite their manuals if the Vermont Supreme Court upholds a decision issued by Judge Howard VanBenthuysen Monday.

The judge, sitting in the Criminal Division of Orleans County Superior Court, said in a written opinion that state experts do not take enough individual factors into consideration when calculating what a person’s blood alcohol level was more than two hours earlier.

The decision concerns what the judge calls “relation-back testimony,” meaning calculations intended to show how quickly a person’s system rids itself of alcohol, and hence what that person’s blood alcohol level was at some time before…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Barton Village Trustees: Proposed solar project would benefit village

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copyright the Chronicle April 27, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

BARTON VILLAGE – A pair of young solar developers appeared before the Barton Village Trustees at their meeting Monday with a proposal to make the village a beneficiary of a 335-kilowatt solar project.

The village would be able to use about 10 percent of the net metered power produced by the project to offset electric bills for the school and municipal buildings.

Although final numbers will replace the computer model as time goes on, the arrangement could potentially save the village as much as …To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Lawsuits claim massive fraud

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copyright the Chronicle April 20, 2016

by Chris Braithwaite

The fix was in from the beginning.

That grim conclusion emerges from a reading of the civil lawsuits state and federal officials have filed against Bill Stenger, Ariel Quiros, Jay Peak, Inc., Q Resorts, Inc., and a host of the corporations and partnerships the two men have established over the past eight years.

Ever since he announced that he was a part owner of Jay Peak in 2008, Mr. Stenger has presided over a stunning series of expansion programs aimed at converting the ski area to a year-round resort. All were funded by foreign investors seeking immigrant status under the EB-5 visa program, which rewards half-million-dollar job-creating investments with a green card.

And, as Mr. Stenger never tired of telling skeptical critics, five of the six major expansions he’s undertaken at Jay have been finished as promised; they’re up and running.

But the state and federal complaints allege…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Stenger pled ignorance to SEC in 2014

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copyright the Chronicle April 20, 2016

by Chris Braithwaite

When investigators with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked Bill Stenger whether his partner had bought Jay Peak resort with money misappropriated from foreign investors, Mr. Stenger said he didn’t know.

That was the gist of Mr. Stenger’s answers in May 2014, when he was summoned to Miami, Florida, to answer questions about how Ariel Quiros became the owner of Jay Peak in June 2008.

In the lawsuit it filed last week, the SEC charged that Mr. Quiros’ diversion of the investors’ funds to buy the ski area was the beginning of a “massive eight-year fraudulent scheme” that led them to seize both Jay Peak and Q Burke Mountain last week.

When asked if he knew if any of the funds Mr. Quiros used to buy Jay Peak were investor’s funds that had been transferred to a Miami brokerage house, Mr. Stenger’s reply was vague:

“I don’t know if they were or not,” he said according to a transcript of his deposition. “They might have been. I don’t know.”

Mr. Stenger’s alleged role…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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