Dale E. Percy Inc., Mike’s Electric and VHC Co. Inc. are not recognizable business names throughout Vermont. Nor are they in businesses that garner a great deal of attention – notably, ski resorts, maple sugaring, dairy and organic farming, and craft beer distilleries. The three companies are in the construction trades. According to an article in VTDigger by Alan Keays in December, the companies were owed over $1,690,000 for work done at the Northeast Kingdom’s EB-5 real estate projects.
The Digger’s piece noted that, in addition to these companies, other small construction contractors are owed upward of $5 million and the chances of them ever seeing any payments are still an uncertainty – although recent developments may allow for significantly reduced payments. The construction trades in Vermont are not the focal point of any article in Vermont Life magazine. They rarely, if ever, receive attention – until, of course, the lights go out, plumbing gets backed up, or an excavator or a D-8 bulldozer is needed on site.
Nonetheless, the dozens of trades that worked on the EB-5 project overcame a tight building schedule and northeast Vermont weather. What they did not see coming at them was the alleged massive fraud that was being carried out by the owners of the half-billion dollar projects. They, like many others, believed that Vermont state agencies were overseeing the financial aspects and, once their work was in place, they would be paid. But they weren’t the only believers.
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