Vermont Supreme Court to hear public records case related to EB-5 program this week

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Vermont Supreme Court to hear public records case related to EB-5 program this week

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 10:23am -- tim
State’s refusal to disclose which records it withheld violates Vermont Public Records Act 

Vermont Business Magazine On Wednesday, January 25, the Vermont Supreme Court will hear a case challenging the State’s withholding of information about public records pertaining to oversight of the EB-5 Foreign Investor Program, which led to the largest financial fraud in Vermont history. 

The Vermont Journalism Trust (VJT), which operates VTDigger, filed a lawsuit in 2020 against the Agency of Commerce and Community Development seeking records that would show why the State allowed Jay Peak developers to continue signing up investors for EB-5 projects after potential fraud was flagged nearly a decade earlier. Though a trial court ordered the State to turn over certain records to VJT in 2021, the State refused to say which records it is not providing, in clear violation of the public records statute.  

VJT is now asking the Supreme Court to enforce the Public Records Act’s requirement that, if a public body is going to withhold public records, it must at a minimum disclose what it is withholding, and why.  

When: Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. Hearing is scheduled for 60 minutes. 

Where: Vermont Supreme Court, 111 State Street, Montpelier. All hearings are also live streamed on the Vermont Judiciary’s YouTube channel.  

What: Hearing on Vermont Journalism Trust v. Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development & Lindsay Kurrle, Secretary. Find the Supreme Court brief here

Why: This case is the latest in the ACLU of Vermont’s ongoing effort to ensure that public records are truly available to the public and that all of our government officials are accountable to the people they serve. 

Who: The ACLU of Vermont, the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic, and Tim Cornell of Cornell Dolan P.C. are representing VJT. 

1.24.2023. ACLU of Vermont. Montpelier acluvt.org