The Vermont EB-5 Regional Center has hired a new director, Gene Fullam.
Fullam moved to Vermont from New York City nearly two years ago. While in New York he worked for several investment banking houses, both domestic and international, including Solomon Brothers, Hongkong Shanghai Bank, Lehman Brothers and Standard & Poor’s Corp.
Patricia Moulton, secretary of the Agency for Commerce and Community Development, said in a statement that Fullam’s extensive experience in corporate finance, private placements and other aspects of investment banking, will serve the agency well.
“We have seen a dramatic increase in competition among regional centers across the country. Gene Fullam’s expertise and experience will help keep the Vermont Regional Center at the forefront of this competitive field,” Moulton said.
The federal EB-5 program offers conditional green cards to foreign nationals who invest $500,000 or $1 million in a development project in the United States. If the project creates 10 full-time jobs, the foreign investors receive permanent green cards for themselves and their families.
The Vermont Regional Center oversees EB-5 projects in the state, and together with Michigan is one of only two state-owned regional centers in the country. The Vermont Regional Center is jointly operated and overseen by the Agency for Commerce and Community Development and the Department of Financial Regulation.
Fullam takes over a program that has been mired in controversy over the past year, with a group of investors in an EB-5 project at Jay Peak Resort complaining they were misled by Bill Stenger, CEO of the resort. Stenger has been leading a massive effort to build EB-5 projects in the Northeast Kingdom, including several projects at Jay Peak.
Former Regional Center Director Brent Raymond resigned in July to take a job at Mt. Snow, working on that resort’s EB-5 project. Gov. Peter Shumlin expressed concern about a potential conflict of interest in Raymond’s decision to leave the Regional Center to work for Mt. Snow. The Regional Center approved the $52 million EB-5 project at Mt. Snow while Raymond was director.
Raymond defended his decision, saying he had counsel review whether accepting a position at Mt. Snow violated any ethics rules, and it did not.
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