Well that didn’t take long, just a few short weeks after Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros’ EB-5 ski resort scandal broke, a similarly funded Vermont project is on track to proceed like nothing happened.
Peak Resorts Inc. (NASDAQ:SKIS), the Missouri based company that owns Mt. Snow (no connection to Jay Peak/Burke Mt.) announced that a $52 million EB-5 funded snow making system expansion will continue now that the Federal government has agreed to release immigrant investor funds held in escrow.
The flow of funds was halted while the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reviewed the EB-5 immigrant investor funded project. The Federal review process is somewhat mysterious as reports note no further information is available from USCIS because “as a matter of policy, we cannot comment on specific EB-5 projects.
The release of funds is welcome as the resort says they had invested millions of its own money in the expansion project. Mt. Snow is reportedly running short on cash. The resort attributed its need to lay off workers to the snow-starved winter.
Peak Resorts CEO Timothy Boyd commented on the snow making upgrades and expansion projects: “The master plan for Mount Snow is expected to enhance the overall visitor experience at the resort by bolstering snowmaking capacity and adding a new three-story, state-of-the-art ski lodge.”
I suppose it is just standard rah rah boosterish language but Peak Resort’s Timothy Boyd might want to temper his tone so as to avoid sounding so eerily similar to Jay Peak’s alleged fraudsters Stenger and Quiros.
Mt. Snow resort representatives always stress that they have no connection at all with Jay Peak but they do enjoy a very close relationship with state government.
President Dick Deutsch stressed: “It’s important to know that we are in good standing with the state of Vermont,”
No doubts there. Mt. Snow is in good standing with the state. In fact in some cases they are standing so close you could hardly slip a piece of paper between them. You see, in 2015 Mt. Snow hired Brent Raymond — the former head of State of Vermont EB-5 Regional Center — to run their EB-5 funded expansion. In his job for the state, Raymond was tasked with promoting and monitoring compliance of Vermont’s EB-5 programs, including Peak Resort Mt. Snow’s $52 million upgrade.
However, Patricia Moulton, head of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD runs VT’s EB-5) characterized Raymond’s departure through the revolving door to the resort business as nothing more than “standard turnover, nothing out of the ordinary.” Raymond parted ways with the agency “amicably and respectfully,”she said.
Oh and ACCD’s Moulton added the reassurance that her brother David Moulton, director of operations at Mt. Snow, was “not involved in hiring Brent,”
Oh well, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to see here — and the EB-5 snow-making job continues.