Darcie McCann : Now The Healing Begins, As We Face A New Normal
Not in recent history has this region heard such a revelation. We had all gotten word that Jay Peak and QBurke had their doors temporarily closed and locks changed, but we could not have envisioned what would transpire in the days to come, as we learned of the federal Securities & Exchange Commission and state inquiry into the EB5 programs scattered throughout the Northeast Kingdom.
In the days that have followed, there has been considerable anger and frustration leveled against the ownership of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain, as a number of multi-million-dollar projects have been cast out to sea and allegations of financial improprieties have been leveled against Bill Stegner and Ariel Quiros.
As I have tried to process this shocking news over the past week, I have come to the realization that not much good comes from focusing on the reported financial infractions. I don’t mean to minimize what has happened in any way, but we have very little control over the charges or what will occur in the courts. It is our intent as a chamber to focus our efforts to assist Jay Peak and Burke Mountain in any and every way possible to survive and flourish.
Burke Mountain, especially, has always had a special place in my heart and always will, as a relative worked on a CCC crew during the Great Depression, carving out the ski area from the mountain. More recently, my husband worked at Burke when we first arrived back in Vermont and now works as a chef at Burke Mountain Academy, just a ski pole’s length from the slopes. It is where my son learned to ski and is just a stone’s throw away from where we used to live. This news hurts, as it does to so many in the Kingdom, but now is the time to energize as a region around the affected communities and each other and go forward.
We have been encouraged to hear of progress, already, from the company that is overseeing the mountains, Leisure Hotels & Resorts. Wedding and events are on track at Jay, even ahead of years past, and activities and biking are starting to dot the calendar at Burke. Burke Mountain Academy, as well, has received word from Leisure Hotels that serving the school is a top priority, so not all news is dire.
The truth of the matter is that we all have to face a new normal, as developments and construction that we expected to occur will not happen, but we will rally, as we have done so many times as a region, and slowly but surely recover from this significant economic hurdle.
Our hearts, most surely, are with the residents of Newport, which not only lost the prospect of having its downtown quickly rebuilt but lost a major prospective business. As we walk down this decidedly different path than envisioned, let us not forget that community and support them the best we can.
While news of this situation left me at a loss for words in the immediate days following the press conference, the words have returned and are devoted to helping and promoting the mountains to an even greater extent than we have ever done before. It is encouraging to see so many share our desire to forge ahead, not fall behind. Together, as a region, we can accomplish almost anything.
Darcie McCann is the executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Chamber.
- Vermont EB5 Regional Center
- Jay Peak - Q Burke Mountain Resort, Hotel and Conference Center L.P.
- UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
- Ariel Quiros
- Bill Stenger
- State of Vermont vs Bill Stenger & Ariel Quiros
- UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION vs Ariel Quiros & Bill Stenger
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