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Auditor’s report takes aim at Vermont EB-5 Center’s conflicted role in Kingdom Con

(WCAX)
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 4:06 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2020 at 4:11 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A new report from Vermont’s auditor outlines the timeline of the state’s involvement with the federal EB-5 program.

Vermont’s EB-5 Center was at the center of the Kingdom con scandal at Jay Peak, where key players recently pleaded guilty to fraud. The program seeks foreign investors to bankroll development projects in exchange for green cards.

Vermont ran the state’s regional center where they sought to expand the EB-5 program while at the same time trying to regulate it. In the new report, Vermont Auditor Doug Hoffer says those dual roles were at conflict from the start.

“When you promote somebody’s work, you’re basically in bed with them. I think that was a mistake that the state made -- they weren’t thinking down the road,” Hoffer said.

Key Vermont leaders including Senator Patrick Leahy and then Gov. Peter Shumlin were involved in promoting the program.

A number of investors continue to battle the state in court alleging negligence and breach of contract by the Commerce Agency and two former employees.

Related Story:

High court says lawsuit can proceed for failed oversight in Kingdom Con case

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