Vermont Received Indication Of Alleged EB-5 Fraud In 2014

Broadcast on Vermont Public Radio

vacant white warehouse on a wooded lot, with blue skies above
The proposed site of AnC Bio in Newport, Vt., remains vacant. The US Securities and Exchange Commission says the bio-tech project has been “rampant with fraud” from the start. Photo by Hilary Niles/VTDigger

Vermont Public Radio has found that, despite ongoing investigations, Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration in 2015 allowed Jay Peak Resort to resume marketing securities to fund offshoot developments AnC Bio and Q Burke Mountain in northern Vermont.

The move that returned Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros and president Bill Stenger to the international market came months after investors sent concerns of securities violations to the state. The men now face state and federal fraud charges, which they deny. The resorts remain open under federal receivership.

Officials say the decision was a “calculated risk” that included solid protections — for investors and the contractors halfway into constructing a $98 million hotel.

// Listen here and read the full story, plus related documents. 

// Listen to my appearance on the statewide talk radio program Vermont Edition to discuss the investigation.

Vermont’s Lake Champlain Cleanup Plan, Explained

Published by Vermont Public Radio

With a surface area of 435 square miles stretched over a length of 120 miles, Lake Champlain is one of the largest lakes in North America. Its waters support aquatic ecosystems, recreation, agriculture and public water supplies.

Percent phosphorous reductions required for each lake segment: The proportional percent of phosphorus reduction required for a lake segment may be quite different from the volume reduction required. For example, in a segment with low phosphorus loads, a small volume may represent a large percentage of that segment’s reduction — and vice versa.

But high levels of phosphorus in the water threaten all these uses of the lake. A plan to clean up Lake Champlain proposes limiting phosphorous runoff, which causes potentially toxic blue-green algae to proliferate. The plan is called the Total Daily Maximum Load, or TMDL.

The limits apply not just to farms and developments (although those are the leading contributors of phosphorus to Lake Champlain), but also to wastewater treatment plants, back roads and even forests and streams. Runoff from all these sources throughout a 8,234-square-mile watershed in Vermont, New York and Quebec ends up in the lake.

A new proposal, referred to as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL), is a choice between scenarios that allow different amounts of pollution from various sources to enter specific parts of the lake. It’s a long and technical document; this series of interactive graphs and charts explains the basics of the official plan — which is not without controversy.

// See the data project.

// Read the story the data accompanied.