- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A receiver appointed to oversee developments around a Vermont ski resort amid allegations of massive fraud says he may borrow money to finish one of the projects that has left a path for foreign investors seeking U.S. residency in limbo.

Michael Goldberg said in a Miami court this week that he needs $17.5 million to finish the Jay Peak Hotel Suites Stateside project, plus $2.1 million owed to the contractor. The hotel is built but other projects, including a recreation center and a medical center, are not.

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the state of Vermont have accused Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros and resort president Bill Stenger of misusing about $200 million raised from foreign investors through a special visa program. The EB-5 program offers foreign investors a chance at U.S. residency for investments in projects that create jobs.

Quiros also is accused in the civil complaints of diverting about $50 million for his personal use, including to buy the Jay Peak and Burke Mountain ski resorts and a Trump Place luxury condo in New York and to pay personal income taxes. Quiros’ lawyer said this week that Quiros did not violate any securities laws and that investors were told money paid to one of his entities could essentially be used for any purpose Quiros wanted. Stenger has said he will be cleared of wrongdoing.

The SEC has frozen most of Quiros’ assets and is seeking an injunction barring him from operating companies related to the Jay Peak projects.

“What I inherited was nothing more than a disaster,” Goldberg said. “To put the companies back in the hands of the individuals who created this mess would be a mistake.”

Goldberg said he may get a loan to finish Stateside, pay the contractor, fix a tram and buy snowmaking equipment.

“It looks bleak right now. We may have to borrow money from a third party so the investors can retain their EB-5 status,” he said.

Another project, a biomedical research facility, is more of a challenge, he said. About $83 million was raised from 166 investors but nothing has been built and $17.8 million is left in an account.

___

Anderson reported from Miami.

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