Judge approves $150-million settlement


copyright the Chronicle July 5, 201


by Joseph Gresser


U.S. District Court Judge Darrin Gayles cleared the way for contractors, merchants, and some EB-5 investors to recover money Jay Peak and Burke Mountain Resorts owes them.

On Friday he gave final approval to a $150-million settlement reached between Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver, and Raymond James & Associates, a financial services company accused of enabling Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros’ alleged fraud.

Judge Gayles tersely described the EB-5 program as one “through which an investor who invested $500,000 in a project that created ten or more jobs per investor would be eligible to apply for unconditional, permanent residency in the United States on an expedited basis.”

While Mr. Quiros owned Jay Peak and Burke Mountain Resorts, his companies ran eight such EB-5 projects. Six of them were completed or will soon be completed so their investors will qualify for permanent residency in the U.S.

The Burke Mountain Hotel opened for business last fall, but some planned amenities were never built, so not enough jobs were created to make all its investors eligible for green cards.

AnC Bio, the biomedical facility that was to be built in Newport, barely got off the ground, so none of its investors will qualify for U.S. residency.

According to civil fraud charges filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Quiros misappropriated about $220-million of the $350-million investors put into his projects. He was also accused by the commission of taking more than $50-million for his own use.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)


SEC turns up heat on Quiros


copyright the Chronicle May 18, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

Federal regulators turned up the heat on Ariel Quiros Tuesday when they filed an amended complaint in the civil case against the owner of Jay Peak Resort.  Mr. Quiros, along with many of his businesses, and Bill Stenger, former president of Jay Peak, were first charged with violating federal securities laws in connection with several EB-5 funded projects in a suit filed on April 12 by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In filing an amended version of its initial complaint Tuesday, the SEC sharpened its accusations against Mr. Quiros, specifically charging that he used investor money from later phases of his eight EB-5 projects to make up shortfalls in earlier phases.

The SEC has held all along that Mr. Quiros misused, wrongly co-mingled, and stole money from foreign investors who sought permanent residency status in the U.S. by means of the EB-5 visa program.  Those investors and their families would be eligible for green cards if their $500,000 investments in a business in a hard-up area of the U.S. produced at least ten permanent jobs.

Jay Peak financed extensive developments, including three hotels, a water park, a skating area, and numerous other vacation properties, through the visa program.  Mr. Quiros also used money from the program to pay for a hotel at Burke Mountain, and planned to build a biomedical facility in Newport with EB-5 investment.

The SEC claims Mr. Quiros took $55-million for himself and could leave investors without their money or a path to residency in the U.S. if his most recent projects remain unfinished.

In the amended version of its complaint, the SEC specified which projects it claims Mr. Quiros stole from and details how he used the money he allegedly took.

The amended charges say Mr. Quiros and his associates took $6.5-million more than they were entitled to from the project that built the golf clubhouse and a number of condominiums at Jay Peak.  Mr. Quiros also failed to invest a promised $3.8-million…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)


EB-5 investor files suit against Raymond James


copyright the Chronicle May 11, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

Jay Peak’s EB-5 projects are keeping Miami’s federal court hopping.

A disappointed investor has launched a class action suit aimed directly at the deep pockets of Raymond James, the financial services company that acted as the bank for Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros. Like the other civil cases aimed at Jay Peak’s foreign investor program this was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Quiros has filed a challenge to the temporary restraining order issued by federal Judge Darrin Gayles that put his assets, including Jay Peak and Burke Mountain, into the hands of a receiver.

He has also asked Judge Gayles to release almost $300,000 to pay legal costs for his defense against charges laid against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In turn, the SEC has asked Judge Gayles to deny Mr. Quiros’ request for access to enough money to pay living expenses amounting to around $100,000 a month. In its filing…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)


Quiros asks for “reasonable” living expenses


copyright the Chronicle May 11, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

Ariel Quiros, the owner of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain, has asked federal Judge Darrin Gayles to allow him access to enough money to cover what he considers reasonable living expenses.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) strongly disagrees with Mr. Quiros’ idea of what is reasonable.

The SEC called the nearly $100,000 a month Mr. Quiros said he needs to live on an “outrageous sum” in its motion opposing the release of the money.

About $90,000 of that amount is for “luxury items, non-necessities, or for undocumented expenses,” the SEC said.

Those include car lease payments of $3,295 for one of his automobiles, and $1,761 for one driven by his wife, and storage and upkeep payments for his collection of military jeeps of about $3,000 a month.

Mr. Quiros said he pays $147 a month to a yacht club and…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)


Citibank has interest in Quiros funds


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:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)


Lawsuits claim massive fraud


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:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)


Stenger admits investors were informed late


The Tram Haus Lodge is the first project using EB-5 funds to be completed at Jay Peak.  Some investors in the project are unhappy about changes to the ownership structure made unilaterally by Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros, the general partners in the project.  Investors were notified of the changes nine months after they were put into effect.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

The Tram Haus Lodge is the first project using EB-5 funds to be completed at Jay Peak. Some investors in the project are unhappy about changes to the ownership structure made unilaterally by Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros, the general partners in the project. Investors were notified of the changes nine months after they were put into effect. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle August 6, 2014 

by Joseph Gresser

JAY — Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros didn’t live up to state standards when they waited nine months before notifying 35 EB-5 investors they had dissolved the partnership that owned the Tram Haus Lodge at Jay Peak Resort, according to Brent Raymond, director of International Trade and the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center.

Mr. Stenger, co-owner of Jay Peak along with Mr. Quiros, agrees that the notification process was botched.

Continue reading


Stenger outlines plans worth $600-million

Bill Stenger. left, and U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy

copyright the Chronicle 10-3-2012

by Joseph Gresser

JAY — A $600-million investment plan set out by the owners of Jay Peak Resort Thursday could change the face of the Northeast Kingdom over the next three years.  In the process it could create ten thousand new jobs.

That was the message Bill Stenger, co-owner and president of the resort, delivered in a pair of press conferences, one held at Jay Peak, the other at the Gateway Center on Newport’s waterfront.

Sharing the stage with Mr. Stenger were U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch and Governor Peter Shumlin.

Most of Mr. Stenger’s plans focused on Newport.  They included construction of a new hotel and conference center on the site of the present Waterfront Plaza, the replacement of the Spates block with a five-story commercial and residential building, and construction of a 75,000-square-foot research building for AnC Bio, a bio medical research company.

any of the major players in Vermont politics mingle before the press conference announcing Jay Peak’s new investments. Developer Tony Pomerleau, seated at left, talks with Governor Peter Shumlin. Seated next to Mr. Pomerleau is his niece, Marcelle Leahy, who is speaking with her husband, Senator Patrick Leahy. Standing behind Senator Leahy is U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. Jay Peak co-owner and president, Bill Stenger, waits at the podium at the far right to begin his presentation. Photos by Joseph Gresser

Mr. Stenger also announced that a German window manufacturer will move to Newport and set up shop in a portion of the old Bogner Building.

The Newport State Airport in Coventry will also get a makeover as Mr. Stenger and his business partner, Ariel Quiros, take over the operation of the field.  They will continue to work with Dan Lathrop of Lakeview Aviation, the current operator of the airport, and will add several hangers, a new terminal building and bonded warehouses.

Mr. Stenger did not completely ignore his skiing properties.  At Jay Peak plans call for an expansion on the Stateside of the mountain where a hotel will be added.  An entirely new area is to be developed in the West Bowl, where a second new hotel is planned.

Mr. Quiros and Mr. Stenger bought the Burke Mountain ski area recently and announced a $102-million project that will include four new ski lodges there.

Ninety percent of the projects’ costs will be funded by money raised from the EB-5 visa program, which grants Green Cards to foreign citizens who invest $500,000 in an approved project that creates at least ten permanent jobs.  The new jobs can be created directly by the projects or indirectly as a result of increased economic activity spurred by the new businesses.

The expected total of over $500-million in EB-5 funds must result in more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs before all Green Cards are issued by the federal government.

The EB-5 program, which has financed most of the $250-million in improvements made at Jay Peak over the past five years, was slated to expire this month.   Congress recently passed a bill reauthorizing the program for another three years, which President Barack Obama signed into law Friday, September 28.

Mr. Stenger gave much of the credit for the three-year extension of the visa program to Senator Leahy.  Unless the EB-5 program gets a further extension, the projects outlined by Mr. Stenger will have to be completed by 2015.

In his remarks Senator Leahy said he already has his staff working on a bill that would make the visa program a permanent part of U.S. law.

The backgrounds of those who seek to participate in the EB-5 program are investigated by federal immigration officials, as is the source of the funds to be invested.  Federal officials also must certify that the expected jobs have been created before a participant is given final resident status and a path to U.S. citizenship.

Mr. Stenger began his explanation of his investment plans by talking about the work that has been done at Jay Peak Resort over the past five years.  He said construction of two new hotels, a golf course and clubhouse, an indoor ice rink, and water park has resulted in a five-fold increase in Jay Peak’s payroll.

At present the ski area employs 1,200 people, Mr. Stenger said.

He said that Jay Peak has completed 75 percent of its expansion plans.  He said the resort plans to spend $170-million between 2013 and 2015 to build 100 homes, new lifts, an 84-unit hotel and a medical center on the Stateside portion of the ski area.

Mr. Stenger said Jay will build new lifts and trails as well as a new hotel in the West Bowl area of Jay Peak.

Moving east, Mr. Stenger outlined plans that would radically reshape the city of Newport.  Along with Mr. Quiros, Mr. Stenger plans to buy the block on the south side of Main Street between Second and Center streets from Doug and Vivian Spates.

The Spates block on Main Street in Newport occupies the space between Second and Center streets. Plans announced Thursday, September 27, at the Gateway Center call for the whole block to be torn down and replaced with a new five-story building combining retail, commercial and residential spaces.

Conceptual drawings by Black River Design show the new Renaissance Block across Main Street from the Goodrich Memorial Library. The top floors are designed to provide residents with a view of Lake Memphremagog. Drawings courtesy of Jay Peak Resort

Plans call for the Spates Block to be razed and replaced with a five-story building.  In accordance with Newport’s zoning code the ground floor would be devoted to retail space.  The second story will be devoted to office or other commercial uses, Mr. Stenger said, while the top three floors will be residential.

An architect’s rendering of the block showed a couple on the top floor of the building, enjoying a view of Lake Memphremagog from the terrace of their penthouse apartment.

The building, which will be called the Renaissance Block, is expected to cost $70-million and is slated for completion in 2014.

The following year the Newport Marina Hotel and Conference Center is scheduled to open on the site of the present Waterfront Plaza on the Causeway.  The cost of the 600-bed hotel is estimated to be $100-million.

The Newport Marina, Hotel and Conference Center, seen here in an architect’s rendering, is proposed for construction on the site of the present Waterfront Plaza.

Mr. Stenger said he is in discussions with Burlington developer Tony Pomerleau to purchase the property, which has extensive frontage on Lake Memphremagog.  Mr. Pomerleau was saluted for his contributions to the state at the press conference, which took place on the eve of his ninety-fifth birthday.

Mr. Stenger described the two projects as bookends for Newport’s Main Street, and asked his listeners to imagine a walk from the hotel up the city’s boardwalk and back down Main Street.

The other Newport developments will be concentrated at the former Bogner property, which was purchased by AnC Bio, the U.S. division of a South Korean biotechnology company.  Mr. Quiros and Mr. Stenger are owners of the U.S. division of AnC.

The biotech company will start manufacturing and distributing products from the existing 90,000-square-foot Bogner building in the spring of 2013.

Work on a 75,000-square-foot research center is to begin next fall at a total cost of $104-million.  The glass tower will essentially be a copy of the company’s research building in Seoul, South Korea.  Inside there will be clean rooms, equipment and research facilities available for lease by other companies or universities, according to William Kelly, the counselor for AnC Bio and Jay Peak.

Mr. Kelly said he expects that researchers will be drawn to the new facility because of the availability of the equipment.

The former Bogner building will have a second manufacturing tenant, this one a German manufacturer of energy-efficient windows.

Mr. Stenger said that one of the people who looked into investing in Jay’s EB-5 program turned out to be someone whose work involved scouting locations in the U.S. where foreign companies might want to locate.

He brought the Newport area to the attention of the owners of Menck Window Systems, who visited the area several times before committing to locating in Newport.

Mr. Stenger said representatives of the company, a 134-year-old family owned concern, were very impressed that Lawrence Miller, secretary of the state’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development, attended the meetings and was solicitous of their needs.

Bringing Menck to Newport will require a $20-million investment, he said, but will result in at least 140 full-time manufacturing jobs.

The Newport State Airport in Coventry will also see considerable investment.  The Federal Aviation Agency will extend the existing runway by 1,000 feet next year from 4,000 feet to 5,000 feet.

This, Mr. Stenger said, will make it possible for larger planes to land and take off, and change the economics of the field.

The existing  runway is to be resurfaced and a separate taxi-way will be built, Mr. Stenger said.

Plans call for the Jay Peak partners to take over operations of the airport, and build a new 10,000-square-foot terminal building, two 15,000-square-foot hangars, a 14,000-square-foot aircraft manufacturing and repair facility, and a 40,000-square-foot bonded warehouse in anticipation of the creation of a Free Trade Zone in Orleans County.

Work at the airport is expected to cost $20-million and be done between 2013 and 2014.

Mr. Stenger credited Senator Leahy with shepherding the visa program bill through the Senate, and thanked Congressman Welch for his work getting it passed by the House.  The legislation passed with overwhelming margins in both bodies.

Each member of the Congressional delegation spoke at the two press conferences, as did Governor Shumlin.  All praised Mr. Stenger and Mr. Quiros for their vision.

Senator Sanders said, “The most popular sport in America is complaining about the federal government.  What you are seeing here is a marriage and partnership between private business and federal, state and local government.”

Secretary Miller, speaking at the Gateway Center press conference, provided assurance that Mr. Stenger’s plans are likely to come to fruition.

He said that sophisticated investors from around the world have carefully examined Mr. Stenger’s plans and made half-million-dollar investments in his projects.

As to whether there are 5,000 people with the skills to take jobs in the new businesses, Mr. Miller pointed out that many people have left the state in search of work.

“We want them back.  We want them home,” Mr. Miller said.

To any who may doubt the reality of his plans, Mr. Stenger offered this assurance:  “We have the mission, we have the vision, we have a love for this community.  We will make it happen.”

contact Joseph Gresser at [email protected]

For more free articles from the Chronicle like this one, see our Editor’s Picks pages. For all the Chronicle’s stories, pick up a print copy or subscribe, either for print or digital editions.