On Wednesday, Vermont Governor Phil Scott released records long-sought by journalists investigating the state’s role in massive EB-5 developments in the Northeast Kingdom. Ariel Quiros is facing state and federal charges that he defrauded EB-5 investors.
Scott’s decision is an about-face from the previous administration. When VTDigger and other media asked Peter Shumlin for emails related to the alleged fraud last year, the former Governor said it would cost them around $20,000 to access heavily redacted documents.
Reporters are interested in the emails for a lot of reasons… not least because Shumlin tried to have them deleted one day before the state and federal governments implicated Ari Quiros in the alleged EB-5 fraud. Shumlin, and staff members like Alex MacLean, were exceedingly cozy with Quiros and his business partner, Bill Stenger, as they attracted $350 million for investment into the NEK.
It’s so expensive to retrieve the emails, Shumlin would have had you believe, because his legion of lawyers had to go through them all first. He insisted that some of the records might be not be appropriate for public consumption under any of a number of 250 open record exemptions (trade secret, litigation, personnel, etc.).
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