Alterra Mountain Co. eyes Jay Peak, Vail takes a pass
Vail Resorts, a ski industry behemoth that has been gobbling up local resorts in recent years, is not interested in Jay Peak. Other companies, however, have visited the Northeast Kingdom resort, a company official told a local town board during a recent meeting.
One could-be buyer that toured Jay Peak is a rival of Vail in the resort consolidation business, Alterra Mountain Co., based in Denver. It also owns a Tremblant ski resort in Quebec and Stratton in Vermont.
Officials have been tight-lipped about the sale of Jay Peak since it hit the market earlier this year.
Michael Goldberg, Jay Peak’s court-appointed receiver, is seeking through the sale to recoup money for EB-5 investors who put money into the resort for massive upgrades over nearly a decade — a process that has led to fraud allegations and criminal charges.
Walter Elander, Jay Peak’s director of mountain planning and development, appeared before the Jay Zoning Board last month seeking a permit renewal for the resort’s administrative offices.
At that meeting, Elander also talked to the board about the sale progress, including visits by potential buyers, according to the meeting minutes.
“The first one is Ultara [sic], they possibly have the funds, second is FoSun (privately owned), third is Pacific Group, fourth is two different groups Snow Operating and a fund called Oz, fifth is AWH (privately owned),” the minutes stated. “He (Elander) stated Vale [sic] showed no interest in Jay Peak.”
Alterra is a conglomerate of many ski resorts that offers a universal Ikon Pass for skiers. Vail offers the Epic Pass for its various resorts.
Vail Resorts bought two resorts in Vermont — Stowe in 2017 and Okemo in 2018 — and has been talked about as a potential Jay Peak buyer. Earlier this summer, Vail Resorts announced it would acquire Peak Resorts, which includes Vermont’s Mount Snow in Dover.
In 2017, Vail acquired Stowe Mountain Resort, and then Okemo Mountain Resort in 2018.
Officials with Vail could not be reached Thursday for comment regarding Jay Peak. Elander, reached Thursday, referred comment to other Jay Peak officials.
Goldberg, Jay Peak’s receiver, was out of the country and could not be reached Thursday for comment.
Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver for Jay Peak, speaks at a Statehouse news conference in April 2017.
Earlier this year, Goldberg hired Houlihan Lokey Inc., an investment banking and financial services firm headquartered in Los Angeles, to assist with the sale of Jay Peak.
In a court filing in June, Goldberg reported that Houlihan Lokey has been “actively marketing” Jay Peak to “potential strategic and financial buyers” in the United States, Europe and Asia.
He also reported that as of May, Houlihan Lokey had contacted 125 potential buyers, with 26 entering into non-disclosure agreements to review financial documents related to Jay Peak Resort. Goldberg did not reveal the names of any of the potential buyers.
Steven Wright, Jay Peak’s general manager, said Thursday that he doesn’t know much about the other entities that have visited the resort.
“It still feels like we’re in the early stages of this,” Wright said of the sale process.
As for Vail, Wright said, “Do you assume that because they haven’t yet shown interest, that there’s a lack of interest, or is there something more forward looking than that? I don’t really have an optic into that.”
“We could take a phone call tomorrow where there’s interest from them or a new party,” Wright said.
It’s not known what price Jay Peak will fetch on the open market, though it’s expected to be well shy of the amount needed to pay back the resort’s EB-5 investors in full. To do that, the sale price would need to be in the $200 million range.
The town of Jay has the resort assessed on the grand list at $124 million. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, during a May 2016 court hearing, valued Jay Peak at $42 million, based on average profits.
The Timberline Cottages at Jay Peak Resort on June 7.
The proceeds of the sale of the resort are expected to be distributed on a “pro-rata basis” to EB-5 immigrant investors in the upgrades at the resort who have not yet been paid back their $500,000 investments.
According to separate civil lawsuits filed by the state and federal regulators in the spring of 2016, Ariel Quiros, then Jay Peak’s owner, and Bill Stenger, at the time the resort’s CEO and president, misused $200 million of investor funds raised through the EB-5 program.
The investments were to pay for massive upgrades at Jay Peak, including three hotels, three condo complexes, a water park, and ice rink. The developers also proposed projects in other communities in northern Vermont, including a hotel and conference center at Burke Mountain ski area as well as a proposed biomedical facility in Newport. The SEC found that the developments were a Ponzi-like scheme.
Stenger and Quiros have since reached monetary settlements in those civil actions, neither admitting or denying the allegations against them.
This May, both Quiros, and Stenger, as well as two of their associates, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Vermont on criminal charges including fraud and making false statements to the government in connection with a separate EB-5 project.
The charges stem from the failed biomedical research facility, AnC Bio Vermont, that authorities said was “nearly a complete fraud.”
The sale of Burke Mountain ski area and its hotel and conference center is on “indefinite hold,” Goldberg has written in previous court filings.
That’s because, according to Goldberg, that ski area continues to lose money and has failed to generate the required jobs needed for EB-5 immigrant investors to obtain the U.S. residency they hoped for when they each put $500,000 into building a hotel there.
- MICHAEL I. GOLDBERG vs The AM Wealth Management Group of Raymond James & Ariel Quiros & Joel Burstein
- JAMES B. SHAW, JOHANNES EIJMBERTS, and LORNE MORRIS Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, vs The AM Wealth Management Group of Raymond James & Bill Stenger & Joel Burstein & Ariel Quiros
- ALEXANDRE DACCACHE, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated vs Ariel Quiros & Bill Stenger & The AM Wealth Management Group of Raymond James & Joel Burstein
- State of Vermont vs Bill Stenger & Ariel Quiros
- UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION vs Ariel Quiros & Bill Stenger
Subscribe for News
Join Professionals on EB5Projects.com →
This website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to sell shares or securities. Any such offer or solicitation will be made only by means of an investment's confidential Offering Memorandum and in accordance with the terms of all applicable securities and other laws. This website does not constitute or form part of, and should not be construed as, any offer for sale or subscription of, or any invitation to offer to buy or subscribe for, any securities, nor should it or any part of it form the basis of, or be relied on in any connection with, any contract or commitment whatsoever. EB5Projects.com LLC and its affiliates expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from: (i) reliance on any information contained in the website, (ii) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (iii) any action resulting therefrom.