by Mike Donoghue, Correspondent, Vermont Business Magazine The United States Attorney's Office in Vermont has decided to drop 10 felony charges against the fourth defendant in the EB-5 criminal fraud case in the Northeast Kingdom. Jong Weon Choi, also known as Alex Choi of South Korea, has remained on the run since he was indicted in Vermont with three American business colleagues in May 2019. Newport businessman Bill Stenger, the former president of Jay Peak resort, has begun an 18-month federal prison sentence in Devens, MA. The mastermind of the EB-fraud scheme in Vermont, former Miami businessman Ariel Quiros, and the former owner of Jay Peak has been sentenced to five years in prison. William Kelly, a Quiros business partner, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Vermont Business Magazine PC Construction announced that it has been selected by Spruce Peak Realty to complete the next phase of development at Spruce Peak in Stowe, Vermont. This latest round of work, which includes construction of a new luxury condominium building and a parking garage, builds on the success of prior PC-built projects at the resort, including the One Spruce Peak residential building, the Spruce Peak Village Center, and the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, among others.
Vermont Business Magazine Representative Peter Welch will join Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) in South Burlington next week as it announces that it has received a $4 million award from the federal government that will support the development of over 300 affordable apartments across Vermont. The source is the Capital Magnet Fund, a program of the U.S. Treasury intended to create and preserve affordable housing for low-income families and revitalize distressed communities by attracting private capital. This year the program awarded $336.4 million in funding to nonprofits and financial institutions. VHFA is one of only 59 organizations nationwide to receive an award this cycle.
by Mike Del Trecco, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer VAHHS My name is Mike Del Trecco and I recently stepped in as interim president and CEO of VAHHS. Many of you who are regular readers of VAHHS Update and followers of hospitals in Vermont know me from my nearly 18 years at VAHHS leading efforts to support our hospitals. On the personal side, I live in Essex with my wife Donna, a nurse, and our two kids, Jeffrey and Jillian. I enjoy all that Vermont has to offer—especially spending time exploring the back woods of the Northeast Kingdom.
Vermont Agency of Agriculture Are you interested in accessing free meals for children this summer? The goal of the USDA Summer Food Service Program is to ensure that every Vermont family with eligible children knows about the program and where they can access meals during the summer months. At summer meal sites across the state, children 18 and under can receive free meals and snacks, no questions asked!
by Joyce Marcel, Vermont Business Magazine It's hard to find anyone who has a bad word to say about Michael S Pieciak, the high-profile former commissioner of the state's Department. of Financial Regulation and the man who took the leading and highly visible role of Governor Phil Scott's "data guy" during the state's successful two-year battle against COVID. Pieciak resigned as commissioner on April 30, saying he wanted to explore other options. Then on May 4, State Treasurer Beth Pearce announced she would not be seeking another term because of health reasons. So Pieciak caught his breath, turned around and, on May 6, announced he was running for Vermont state treasurer to replace Pearce — with Pearce's endorsement. If it looks like collusion, that's because, in the nicest way, it is.
The President signed into law a much-needed step forward to addressing our nation’s gun violence epidemic. As we continue marking mass shootings with more and more frequency, and the nation calls on its elected officials to legislate change, the inaction in Congress has been deafening.
But today, we finally have progress. Earlier this week, the Senate convened to vote on its bipartisan agreement to address and prevent gun violence. I am pleased that key provisions of my bill, the “Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act,” were included in the agreement and now have been signed into law. This is a bill I have been working to pass for nearly ten years with Senator Collins and Senator Durbin, which strengthens penalties for straw purchasing and firearms trafficking. These are serious crimes and should be treated accordingly. I am confident these efforts will help increase safety in our communities, and I applaud the bipartisan negotiators for including these important reforms in their agreement.
Vermont Business Magazine The Wolf Kahn Foundation, jointly with the Emily Mason | Alice Trumbull Mason Foundation (the distinct organization devoted to the legacy of Emily and her mother), has announced $800,000 in grants to six art institutions in New York City and Vermont. This includes $100,000 each to the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center and the Vermont Studio Center. Following the $8.1M single-seller Christie’s sale of works from the couple’s art collection in May 2021, the gift round marks the first joint philanthropic initiative of the two sister Foundations and pays homage to Emily Mason and Wolf Kahn’s personal experiences and collective passions across five intersecting themes: New York City; access to arts education; Vermont; gardens and the natural world; and printmaking.
by John McClaughry Governor Phil Scott’s veto of the Vermont Climate Council’s urgently desired tax on heating oil for homes, businesses, churches, schools and government buildings stopped that plan dead in its tracks. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the governor and the Democratic leadership will try to find common ground to enact the vetoed Clean Heat Standard in 2023, to be put into effect in 2024. But right now Vermonters face a pressing problem: steadily rising gasoline, diesel and heating fuel prices.
by Joan Goldstein, Commissioner, Department of Economic Development Greetings! This summer, the Department of Economic Development (DED) team has restarted our regional visits beginning with travel to Bennington, Franklin, Rutland and Lamoille counties. Our tours have been a blend of business meetups, brownfield site visits, walking tours of TIF districts and networking events. Our Regional Development Corporation partners provide important local knowledge and facilitate business assistance in their communities, serving as satellites of the work that happens at the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD). It has been impactful to collaborate in person again after our COVID hiatus and we receive invaluable feedback during these regional visits.
Vermont Business Magazine On the eve of its 10th Anniversary, Whetstone Brands co-founders Amy Brady, Tim Brady, and David Hiler are marking the occasion by refreshing the brand that started it all - Whetstone. Originally opened as Whetstone Station, the legacy brewery will be reborn as Whetstone Beer Co. with new visuals and branding that celebrates their common love of brewing up adventures through beer, travel, shared experiences, and the great outdoors. When doors opened and brewing began at Whetstone Station in July 2012, the spirit of exploration and discovery through rail travel underpinned the concept. The space at the confluence of Whetstone Brook and the Connecticut River in Brattleboro was designed to pay homage to the building’s role in Brattleboro’s bustling railroad industry.
Vermont Business Magazine The Made in Vermont Marketplace is an extraordinary opportunity for Vermont companies to showcase their Made in Vermont products to an audience of thousands of prospective customers in one weekend. The trade show is dedicated to promoting the great variety of Vermont-made products ... from furniture, specialty foods, clothing, wines and so much more! Only Vermont based companies that make their products in Vermont are eligible to exhibit. It will be held October 1 - 2, 2022, at the Champlain Valley Exposition.