Offer made to buy Burke Mountain ski resort; auction may follow

The Q Burke Hotel in Burke, Vt., on April 27, 2016. Following alleged misappropriation of funds by developers, a court has seized the $50 million hotel and plans are being made to sell the property. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

The Q Burke Hotel in Burke, Vt., on April 27, 2016. Following alleged misappropriation of funds by developers, a court has seized the $50 million hotel and plans are being made to sell the property. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News file — Geoff Hansen

By ALAN J. KEAYS

VtDigger

Published: 06-17-2023 10:03 PM

Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver in charge of overseeing Burke Mountain ski resort for more than seven years, has an offer to buy the scandal-plagued ski resort in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

News of the bid came from a recent court filing submitted by Goldberg, predicting that a sale of the property would take place “later this year.”

The filing does not name the bidder or the amount of the bid, but the document stated that Goldberg wants to continue to seek qualified buyers, and if a matching or higher price is offered, an auction would be held to sell the resort. 

That process is similar to the one Goldberg used to sell Jay Peak last year for $76 million to Pacific Group Resorts Inc. of Park City, Utah, after attracting an initial bid from PGRI followed by two additional bidders who all took part in an auction.

Goldberg was also the court-appointed receiver overseeing Jay Peak.

“The Receiver has received an initial offer, and expects to file a motion with the Court in the next month recommending an identical sales process to the Jay Peak sale — a ‘stalking horse’ bid, followed by an auction and a subsequent motion asking the Court to approve a final sale,” Goldberg stated in his recent court filing regarding Burke. 

Both Jay Peak and Burke had been mired in scandal for several years.

Ariel Quiros, former owner of Jay Peak and Burke, and his former business partner, Bill Stenger, Jay Peak’s former president, had funded massive upgrades at that resort, including new hotels and a water park, paid for with money raised through the federal EB-5 visa program.

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They were also working on building a hotel and conference center at Burke, Vt., financed through the EB-5 program, when separate civil lawsuits were brought in April 2016 by state and federal regulators, alleging Quiros and Stenger misused $200 million of the more than $350 million they raised from EB-5 investors.

Regulators said Quiros alone “looted” more than $50 million for himself for personal expenses, including buying a luxury condo in New York City.

Foreign investors through the EB-5 program can gain permanent U.S. residency if they invest at least $500,000 in job-creating programs, and the job targets are actually reached.

Quiros and Stenger have since reached settlements — neither denying nor admitting fault — with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and state regulators in both cases, which encompassed all of their joint EB-5 projects.

Both men were also federally indicted on crimes in connection with another EB-5 financed project — to build a $110 million biomedical research center in Newport, Vt., later deemed by federal regulators “nearly a complete fraud,” and were sentenced to prison. Quiros is still serving his five-year prison term while Stenger was released after serving about half of his 18-month sentence in prison.

The hotel and conference center at Burke Mountain has since been completed and is in operation.

Goldberg’s court filing says the proceeds from Burke’s sale will be distributed to the defrauded investors in the hotel and conference center.

Goldberg submitted his recent filing in the U.S. District Court in Miami, Florida, which is where the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought its civil enforcement action against Stenger and Quiros in April 2016. Quiros had been a Miami businessman, in addition to owning the two ski resorts.

Goldberg could not be reached Tuesday for comment.