At NCUHS: Board won’t hire a principal

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copyright the Chronicle May 25, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — North Country Union High School will do without a principal next year. The board decided not to hire its most recent candidate, Chris Smith, after a lengthy meeting held in executive session Monday evening.

According to North Country Supervisory Union Superintendent John Castle, the board had come up with an option it could put in place if a new principal could not be found by the end of the current school year.

It calls for assistant principals Anita Mayhew and Bob Davis and Director of Special Programs Jessica Puckett to share responsibility for the day-to-day management of the school during the 2016-2017 school year, Mr. Castle said. They will assume their new roles on July 1.

Mr. Castle said he and the board members will work together before the board’s June meeting to define each administrator’s job.

Before making their decision, the board and several parents met Chris Smith, a finalist…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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Farmers favor new DFA settlement plan

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copyright the Chronicle May 18, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

BURLINGTON – A crowd of dairy farmers spent a day in federal court here last week telling U.S. Judge Christina Reiss their thoughts on the proposed settlement in a case against Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a nationwide dairy cooperative.

More than 30 farmers gave up an idea corn-planting day on Friday, May 13, to weigh in on the latest attempt at a resolution to a class action suit that first came before the court in 2009.

While the new proposed settlement, like the two proposals that preceded it, provides for $50-million in compensation, it has a number of additional provisions intended to deal with issues left unaddressed in the first version.

Unlike the first fairness hearing, held in February of 2015, farmers who spoke in favor of the agreement heavily outnumbered…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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EB-5 investor files suit against Raymond James

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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:

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Quiros asks for “reasonable” living expenses

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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:

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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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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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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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