EB-5 investor sues state

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copyright the Chronicle June 21, 201

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

An investor in the first of Jay Peak’s EB-5 projects is suing the state Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Department of Financial Regulation, the Vermont Regional Center (VRC), and a number of those agencies’ employees.

The lawsuit, filed in the Civil Division of Lamoille County Superior Court, claims the two branches of state government and the named individuals effectively acted as Ariel Quiros’ and Bill Stenger’s partners, helping them to perpetrate fraud.

Mr. Quiros is the subject of a civil suit filed by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that charges he mishandled around $200-million of the approximately $350-million he raised to pay for hotels and other facilities at Jay Peak and Burke Mountain Resorts, as well as a biomedical facility in Newport.

The suit claims that Mr. Quiros also took about $50-million of the investors’ money for his own use.

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Raymond James agrees to $150-million settlement

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copyright the Chronicle April 19, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

A year and a day after the federal and state governments filed civil charges connected with Jay Peak’s EB-5 projects, the receiver in the case announced a settlement intended to pay money owed to contractors and return the money invested in some failed enterprises.

Michael Goldberg, who was appointed to oversee businesses and other assets owned by Ariel Quiros, appeared at a press conference April 13 in Montpelier with Governor Phil Scott to announce an agreement with Raymond James & Associates, Inc., that could be worth as much as $150-million.

The same day, Raymond James posted the text of the settlement reached with Mr. Goldberg in a filing with the SEC. As a publically traded company, the financial services firm is required to disclose events, such as legal settlements, that may affect its business prospects.

Although it agreed to pay, Raymond James did not admit any wrongdoing.

According to the settlement documents, the company and the receiver have been discussing a settlement since last summer. Last June the Vermont branch of Raymond James reached a $5.95-million settlement with the state. That money will be subtracted from the $150-million the national firm is to pay out.

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Mr. Goldberg said he is pleased with the settlement, but said it had taken a lot of hard work to come to terms.

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The NEK’s got jobs — a lot of them

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copyright the Chronicle November 30, 2016

by Tena Starr

Neil Morrissette of Creative Work Solutions is an unabashed cheerleader for the Northeast Kingdom. It has everything, he said in a recent interview.

Including jobs. A lot of jobs. In fact, some employers are near desperate for workers, Mr. Morrissette said.

“There’s so much work out there.”

The economic picture he paints is far from the traditional one, which is that the Northeast Kingdom — generally called the most economically depressed part of the state — is one tough place to get a job.

But Mr. Morrissette’s assessment is backed up by a low unemployment rate in the Derby labor market area. The area’s October rate was the second highest in Vermont, but at 3.7 percent it’s very low nationally and can’t be considered high anywhere.

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SEC wins early victory against Quiros

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copyright the Chronicle November 23, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

 

In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles gave the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) an early victory in its suit against Ariel Quiros. The federal agency was granted its request for a preliminary injunction to keep things as they have been since it went to court in April and charged Mr. Quiros with securities fraud.

The judge’s ruling maintains the status quo until the underlying issues in the civil suit are resolved at trial. That means Mr. Quiros’ property remains under the control of Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver, and Mr. Quiros is barred from any kind of involvement in businesses connected with the federal EB-5 visa program.

When the case comes to trial, Mr. Quiros faces the prospect of being forced to disgorge as much as $200-million in money the government said was improperly used. Mr. Quiros has also been charged with taking more than $50-million for his personal use.

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Lawyers for Stenger tell state to bring it on

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copyright the Chronicle October 19, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — Lawyers for Bill Stenger have told the state to bring it on. In a September 7 filing in the Civil Division of Washington County Superior Court, they denied all the fraud charges related to EB-5 visa funded projects sponsored by Jay Peak and have demanded a jury trial.

Mr. Stenger recently settled similar charges levied against him by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the settlement, Mr. Stenger did not admit or deny the charges against him, but he agreed to accept whatever penalties U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles may decide to assess.

Mr. Stenger also promised that he would not say anything that contradicted the SEC charges.

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Potential Jay Peak buyer accused of fraud

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copyright the Chronicle September 21, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

JAY PEAK — When Michael Goldberg got a letter offering to buy Jay Peak for $93-million some aspects of it set off alarms. His suspicions proved to be justified when a quick search showed that the man who made the offer has been accused of a $3-million stock swindle.

Mr. Goldberg explained his concerns about the offer from Jean Joseph of Bellwether Business Group and his follow-up correspondence in a report filed September 16 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.

Mr. Goldberg said the original offer was unusually vague, and didn’t fully specify what the purchaser wanted to get for his money. In addition, the due diligence list, setting out the kind of information about Jay Peak the potential purchaser hoped to get before finalizing the deal, included a number of items that were not applicable to a ski area.

The timeframe for completing the sale proposed by Mr. Joseph also appeared impossibly short, Mr. Goldberg said.

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Jay 14-year-old is women’s amateur national flowboarding champion

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copyright the Chronicle September 7, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

JAY — Monica Caffrey is tiny, muscular, and tanned. She’s 14 years old, and an eighth-grader at North Country Union Junior High School. And she was recently crowned the amateur women’s national flowboarding champion.

Flowboarding — also called flowriding — hasn’t been around as an organized sport much longer than Monica’s been alive.

It’s somewhere between skateboarding and surfing. The board is like a small finless surfboard. The moves are straight out of skateboarding right down to the names.

But it’s done on the water — specifically on an artificial 35-mile-an-hour vertical wave, called a sheet wave, that can curl over at the top like a breaking wave on the beach.

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Stenger settles, no longer works at Jay

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copyright the Chronicle September 7, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

Bill Stenger, the former president of Jay Peak Resort, is no longer a defendant in the civil lawsuit filed by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against him and the owner of the resort, Ariel Quiros. Mr. Stenger is also no longer employed by Jay Peak.

After several months of negotiations, Mr. Stenger reached an agreement with SEC lawyers under which he will be liable to whatever penalties U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles might impose for securities fraud. Although Mr. Stenger neither admitted nor denied the charges filed against him, he will allow himself to be treated as if he were guilty of the charges for purposes of punishment.

As part of the settlement, Mr. Stenger is permanently barred from participating in any way in selling securities connected to the EB-5 visa program or having any control over a business that does.

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Bill Stenger still on the payroll at Jay Peak — for now

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copyright the Chronicle August 24, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

JAY — For more than 30 years visitors to Jay Peak Resort had a hard time avoiding the ski area’s general manager, later president, Bill Stenger. They might find him parking cars, selling lift tickets, or clearing tables in one of the area’s restaurants.

One might think that would have changed since he and Jay Peak’s owner Ariel Quiros were accused of investment fraud in civil complaints filed by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the state’s Department of Financial Regulation (DFR).

That would be a mistake.

Mr. Stenger is as visible as ever. He’s still working for Jay Peak, albeit in a very different role, that of assisting court-appointed receiver Michael Goldberg as he tries to keep Jay Peak and Burke Mountain resorts running while legal proceedings are underway.

He has the same office that he occupied when he was president of the resort, the same e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. He even drives the same Audi he has driven for the past six years, complete with a Jay Peak vanity plate.

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Jay Peak hosts annual Porsche parade

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copyright the Chronicle June 29, 2016

by Jef Barker

A week of Porsche Club of America (PCA) events, including a concours, a time, speed, and distance rally, and a parade of Porsches ended Saturday with 350 of the German-made cars driving from Jay Peak to Newport. Several dozen cars and about 150 people continued on to the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line.

There were at least a dozen people on the sidewalks and front lawns on and around Main Street in Newport taking pictures of the cars when the parade passed by at the turnaround point.

Some of the drivers parked at the state office building or on Main Street to enjoy Newport, but most looped around and headed back to Jay or continued on to the Haskell Opera House.

The Porsche owners took care of their own throughout the week — with about 600 club members volunteering for four- to six-hour shifts, doing everything from setup and tear down to working at the event car wash hosted by the Jay Fire Department…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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