A foreign investor rejected from joining a development project in the Northeast Kingdom has waited four-and-a-half months for a refund.
The developer of Q Burke Resort says the money is on the way and that this is the first time an EB-5 immigrant investor’s application has been turned down.
Bill Stenger announces a $500 million investment in Northeast Kingdom developments.
Bill Stenger announces a $500 million investment in Northeast Kingdom developments in 2012. File photo by Anne Galloway
After the application was denied by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service, Bill Stenger, the president of Jay Peak and developer, with partner Ariel Quiros, of the Q Burke project, promised to return the $500,000 investment and a $50,000 administrative fee within 90 days.
The deadline passed Sept. 17, and the money had not been transferred to the investor’s account, according to documents obtained by VTDigger from the Department of Financial Regulation.
The investor’s identity was redacted from the documents.
Stenger said in an email to VTDigger that the money will be refunded by Nov. 10.
“It has been determined that the refund request is appropriate and is now being processed,” Stenger wrote.
In a letter to the investor on Aug. 31, Stenger says in his experience he has “never had a denial” of an I-526 petition among the more than 800 EB-5 immigrant investor applicants for the five Jay Peak Resort projects, Q Burke or AnC Bio Vermont.
Stenger encouraged the immigrant investor to try again. “It may be to [sic] late but with good council [sic] your client could be approved in about 6 months with us,” he wrote.
“None the less [sic] we will send refund to you but need written authorization from him asking it to go to you,” Stenger says in the email correspondence. “Once done we will send. Should be able to do by sept. 16 th [sic] as planned. I would welcome you and clients to visit Vermont anytime to see for yourself what we have done and the job creation we have lead [sic].”
An attorney for the investor sent a series of email complaints to Stenger in August, September and October and sent copies to Gene Fullam, the director of the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center.
The investor’s attorney, also unidentified in the documents, filed a formal complaint with the Department of Financial Regulation on Sept. 22.
Six days later, Stenger told Fullam that there is “a funding issue” with the refund that is associated with the larger problems affecting the Q Burke construction project.
A month after that, the attorney contacted Stenger again, wanting to know why the funds hadn’t been released.
Stenger blamed the state’s “release of funds protocol” for the delay.
The Department of Financial Regulation is requiring pre-approval of all expenditures before money is released from an account held in escrow for Q Burke construction costs. The approvals are part of a condition placed on Q Burke while the project is under a financial review by DFR.
Q Burke is part of a $545 million series of developments in the Northeast Kingdom promoted by Stenger and his partner, Ariel Quiros of Miami. The projects also include Jay Peak Resort and AnC Bio Vermont.
The developments are funded by immigrants who invest $500,000 (plus $50,000 in administrative fees) in exchange for a green card and eventual permanent residency.
Federal regulators are investigating the projects.
- Bill Stenger
- Ariel Quiros
- Jay Peak - AnC Bio Vermont
- Jay Peak - Q Burke Mountain Resort, Hotel and Conference Center L.P.
- Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development RC
- Vermont EB5 Regional Center
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