The Victorville saga is over. Maybe.
Now that the city has lost a final appeal to save its regional center, there may be nothing left for it to do other than accept that EB-5 visa funding is no longer a viable option for its projects.
Last year, the Victorville Regional Center in Victorville, California became the first EB-5 regional center to be terminated by USCIS. According to the agency, the regional center was trying to count jobs that it was unable to receive credit for having created. That, and its financial reports contained "material factual discrepancies."
The regional center received an initial "Notice of Intent to Terminate" in May of 2010. A second one arrived in August, followed by a "Notice of Final Termination" in which USCIS rendered the regional center ineligible to receive EB-5 visa funding for its wastewater treatment plant construction project.
Since then, only one other regional center out of nearly 200 has met a similar fate.
Upon receiving a denial from USCIS when it appealed to overturn the agency's decision, the city filed a lawsuit against USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security, and officials involved in the agency's decision.
However, instead of actually pursuing the lawsuit, the city agreed to sit on it until receiving final word from the agency's Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). On December 21, the city received the AAO's decision ? one that wasn't to its liking. It seems Victorville was still unable to prove that it used investor funds to create jobs rather than simply preserve jobs that already existed.
Details on all of these proceedings appeared in the December 23 edition of the Victorville Daily Press. According to the article:
"The city built its wastewater treatment plant primarily using interfund loans, pledging to pay them back in part with EB-5 funds. Now the city has refunded all $9.5 million in loans it had collected and is hoping the regional Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority will buy its plant so it can replenish reserves."
Now the Victorville City Council will have to decide whether it wants to pursue the lawsuit against the federal government. Doing so would be "pricey," according to the Daily Press, and the council won't decide whether to move forward with it until January 17.
Last January, the city approved spending $50,000 to fight the termination in court. At that time, it also refunded $500,000 to at least one investor.
Victorville accrued a total of 19 investors prior to its termination.
Image credit: Ken Lund