Jay Peak receiver seeks another $1 million, bringing EB-5 cleanup bill to more than $10 million

Michael Goldberg
Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver in the Jay Peak EB-5 fraud case, is seeking more than $1 million. File photo by Michael Dougherty/VTDigger

Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver managing Jay Peak Resort and Burke Mountain Resort as they emerge from financial scandal, is seeking more than $1 million in his latest request to cover fees and expenses for himself and other professionals.

The request for $1,130,890, if granted by a federal judge overseeing the receivership, would bring the total fees and expenses for Goldberg and other legal and financial professionals who have assisted him to $10,970,473 since his appointment in April 2016.

It’s been a year since Goldberg last put in for fees and expenses for carrying out the receivership. 

The two resorts were put in receivership after federal and state regulators brought civil enforcement actions against Ariel Quiros, the owner of both resorts, and Bill Stenger, who was Jay Peak’s CEO and president.

The regulators accused the two men of misusing more than $200 million of the over $350 million raised from foreign investors through the federal EB-5 visa program. Quiros and Stenger eventually reached financial settlements with the state and federal regulators, with Quiros taking the biggest hit, agreeing to surrender more than $80 million in assets, including both ski resorts. 

The two men were later indicted on criminal charges connected to a separate EB-5-financed project they headed in the Northeast Kingdom. They planned to build a $110 million biomedical research facility in Newport, known as AnC Bio Vermont; prosecutors said the plan was virtually a complete fraud.

Both men are serving prison sentences after reaching plea deals with prosecutors.

Goldberg, in filing his expense request Wednesday, wrote that accomplishments in the past year included an auction to sell the Jay Peak property and its assets last month. Pacific Group Resorts Inc., based in Park City, Utah, prevailed in the auction with a bid of $76 million. 

The closing on the sale is expected later this year.

Goldberg’s fee request spans from Aug. 1, 2021, to July 31 of this year, according to the filing in federal court in Florida. That’s where federal regulators brought the federal lawsuit against Quiros, a Miami businessman, more than three years ago.

In the filing, Goldberg wrote that he and his firm, Akerman LLP of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the other professionals working with him, had reduced their standard rates.

“Instead of their standard billing rates, which range from $160.00 to $910.00, the Receiver is billed at $395.00, partners (in the firm) are billed at $500.00 to $700.00,” he wrote in the filing. 

“During the Application Period,” Goldberg added, “the Receiver and Akerman billed 2,198.50 hours and seek payment of fees in the sum of $859,709.50 and reimbursement of expenses in the sum of $9,818.77, for a total of $869,528.27.”

Judge Darrin P. Gayles, who has presided over the receivership since it began in April 2016, will decide whether to approve the request. Money to pay the bills would come from available cash in the receivership estate, the filing stated.

Goldberg could not immediately be reached Wednesday for comment.

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