Lawsuit claims EB-5 fraud started in 2008

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copyright the Chronicle April 12, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

BURLINGTON — Two investors in EB-5 projects at Jay Peak Resort claim that securities fraud at the ski area started in 2008 when Ariel Quiros paid for the resort using money meant to build hotels. They also say Jay Peak’s former owner had to know what was going on.

Antony Sutton and a man referred to only as John Doe filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court for Vermont on April 7 and charged Saint-Sauveur Valley Resorts, Inc., the former owner, with turning a blind eye as Mr. Quiros paid with money that they told him was meant solely for improvements to the resort.

The two want Saint-Sauveur to return $21.9-million they claim it first gave to Mr. Quiros and then improperly accepted as payment when he bought the resort from the Canadian company.

Mr. Sutton invested $500,000 in Jay Peak Hotel Suites LP (Phase I), and Mr. “Doe” put the same amount into Jay Peak Hotel Suites II LP (Phase II).   Both projects raised money through the federal EB-5 visa program, which trades investments in job-creating companies for a U.S. Green Card and a path to citizenship.

The first two of what would eventually be seven such projects were started by Saint-Sauveur and taken over by Mr. Quiros when he bought Jay Peak.

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Federal receiver fields questions in Jay

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copyright the Chronicle March 8, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

JAY — Residents here heard from the effective owner of Jay Peak Resort before they began their Town Meeting Tuesday morning. Michael Goldberg, the receiver appointed by U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles to oversee the businesses owned by Ariel Quiros, answered questions from voters about the ski area’s future.

The big news was that construction will soon begin on the remaining portion of what is known as the Stateside project. Mr. Quiros, who is facing civil charges of investment fraud in state and federal court, raised money from foreign investors to build a hotel, a recreation center, a medical center, and around 84 homes at the resort.

Mr. Goldberg said work will begin in the next few months on the medical and recreation centers as well as the homes. The hotel was completed and opened in 2013.

The receiver said it is important to finish all construction at the resort so as to get the best price when it goes on the market. The sale, he said, will probably take place in a year or two.

Mr. Goldberg said the area had a record winter, and has already booked 60 weddings for the coming summer.

“To book a wedding a year out, you have to have faith the place is going to be there,” Mr. Goldberg said.

A year or two more of profitable operation should make sure the resort fetches top dollar when it goes on the block, he said.

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EB-5 investors take aim at Quiros and Raymond James

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copyright the Chronicle June 15, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

The major skirmishes in the legal battle over Jay Peak’s EB-5 projects seem to have settled down, at least for the moment. Civil suits filed against Ariel Quiros, the owner of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain resorts, and his companies, along with Bill Stenger, former president of Jay Peak, have been filed in federal court by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and, in Vermont Superior Court, by the state Department of Financial Regulation.

Both allege that Mr. Quiros, with the help of Mr. Stenger, misused around $200-million of the $350-million they raised from foreign investors hoping to get green cards in exchange for putting money into a job-creating project. Mr. Quiros is also accused of taking about $55-million for his own use.

Mr. Quiros’ businesses and property have been put in the hands of Michael Goldberg, appointed receiver…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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SEC turns up heat on Quiros

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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:

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Stenger and state spar over finances

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copyright the Chronicle April 13, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

EAST BURKE – A long-running disagreement between the sponsors of two EB-5-funded projects and state regulators has been thrown into sharp relief through an exchange of letters between the owners of Q Burke Resort and the commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation (DFR).

On March 25, Commissioner Susan Donegan of the DFR sent a letter to Bill Stenger, one of the Q Burke partners and co-owner of Jay Peak Resort, in which she accused him of failing “to engage in best business practices.”

That failure, Ms. Donegan maintained, made it impossible for her to give the Q Burke partners complete access to investors’ money now held.…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Construction of AnC Bio plant gets underway

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Many of those involved in planning AnC Bio help turn over the first shovels of dirt on May 14.  From left to right, are Vermont State Aeronautics Administrator Guy Rouelle, Jane Fortin and Cindy Robillard of the state Department of Labor, North Country Career Center Director Ilene Illuzzi, Alex Choi, former CEO of AnC Bio Korea, Jerry Davis of PEAK CM, Newport City Mayor Paul Monette, Ariel Quiros, co-owner of Jay Peak Resort and Mr. Stenger’s partner in AnC Bio, Bob Brown Petersen of NME Pharmaplan, AnC Bio Vermont CEO Ike Lee, Jake Lee, who heads development of artificial organs for AnC Bio, and Bill Stenger, president of Jay Peak Resort.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Many of those involved in planning AnC Bio help turn over the first shovels of dirt on May 14. From left to right, are Vermont State Aeronautics Administrator Guy Rouelle, Jane Fortin and Cindy Robillard of the state Department of Labor, North Country Career Center Director Ilene Illuzzi, Alex Choi, former CEO of AnC Bio Korea, Jerry Davis of PEAK CM, Newport City Mayor Paul Monette, Ariel Quiros, co-owner of Jay Peak Resort and Mr. Stenger’s partner in AnC Bio, Bob Brown Petersen of NME Pharmaplan, AnC Bio Vermont CEO Ike Lee, Jake Lee, who heads development of artificial organs for AnC Bio, and Bill Stenger, president of Jay Peak Resort. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle May 20, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — The long-delayed groundbreaking for AnC Bio took place under fair skies Thursday morning, May 14. Speakers hailed prospects for the $100-million biomedical facility, which is expected to employ between 400 and 500 people when it’s up and running in a year and a half.

They will include people involved in manufacturing artificial organs, technicians to help run equipment in the clean room suites that will be available for rent by independent researchers, and scientists to perform research on stem cell therapies, said Bill Stenger, president of Jay Peak and one of the principals of AnC Bio Vermont. Mr. Stenger said people with education levels up to post-graduate degrees could find jobs at AnC Bio…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Stenger admits investors were informed late

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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.

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Minimum wage hike will have ripple effect

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min wage webcopyright the Chronicle June 11, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

Local employers say a rise in pay for those at the bottom of the ladder is sure to increase salaries for those on the higher rungs.

That will be good news for many workers, they say, but could come at the cost of increased prices for goods and services.

Vermont’s minimum wage will rise on New Year’s Day 2015 and on each January 1 until 2018. The Vermont Legislature voted to increase it from the present level of $8.73 an hour to $10.50 in four annual jumps.

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Hair salons are bright spot in local business

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Marie Turmel Kroeger sits inside her new 300-square foot salon.  Visible in the mirror is a portrait of women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, painted by Ms. Kroeger.  Photo by Natalie Hormilla

Marie Turmel Kroeger sits inside her new 300-square foot salon. Visible in the mirror is a portrait of women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, painted by Ms. Kroeger. Photo by Natalie Hormilla

copyright the Chronicle April 30, 2014 

by Natalie Hormilla

Marie Turmel Kroeger opened a hair salon in a refurbished milk house in Craftsbury last month with confidence and enthusiasm.

“It’s called faith in oneself,” she said, just a couple of weeks into officially opening The Milk House Hair Studio on King Farm Road.

Ms. Kroeger’s business offers a range of services, including hair cutting, coloring, highlighting, and styling, and other treatments like relaxed permanent waves and facial waxing. She also does makeup for, and consults on, events like weddings or professional makeovers.

Everything happens in a 300-square-foot space, restored and relocated from across the street by her husband, Ben. The space is decorated with artwork mostly painted by Ms. Kroeger herself.

“It’s really, really quaint, and very personalized,” she said.

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Jay Peak’s plans for rec center remain in limbo

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Jay Peak Resort hopes to build this recreation center on the ski area’s Stateside.  The front entrance is planned to be 14 feet tall and face the Stateside parking area.  The back wall of the metal-faced building would be 22 feet tall and face Route 242.  Inside, the proposed center would have climbing walls, a movie theater, arcade games, and a horizontal ropes course.  Image courtesy of Jay Peak Resort

Jay Peak Resort hopes to build this recreation center on the ski area’s Stateside. The front entrance is planned to be 14 feet tall and face the Stateside parking area. The back wall of the metal-faced building would be 22 feet tall and face Route 242. Inside, the proposed center would have climbing walls, a movie theater, arcade games, and a horizontal ropes course. Image courtesy of Jay Peak Resort

copyright the Chronicle February 12, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

JAY—Jay Peak Resort’s plan to build a recreation center with a 145-seat movie theater and climbing walls remains in limbo.  The Jay Planning Commission and Zoning Board (two bodies with one set of members) tabled the application Monday night until March 10.

The commission came out of a deliberative session that lasted an hour and a half to express its dissatisfaction with the area’s provisions for parking for the new facility and concern about the building’s effect on the views along Route 242.

The planning commission met Monday night to reconsider the project, which had been refused a permit based on parking and public safety concerns after it was first presented in January.

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