Ski resort owner will litigate damages, not contest charges

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A ski resort owner accused last year of massive fraud involving foreign investors' money will not contest the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges against him.

A lawyer for Ariel Quiros, the owner of the Jay Peak Resort, said Tuesday that Quiros is not admitting nor denying anything and now will only litigate damages.

"As far as Mr. Quiros is concerned he's interested in resolving everything," attorney Melissa Visconti said.

Quiros and the then-president of Jay Peak, William Stenger, were accused last year by the SEC and by Vermont of misusing more than $200 million raised from foreign investors through the EB-5 visa program for developments at or near the ski resort.

Stenger has settled with the SEC.

Quiros, of Miami, has agreed to not participate in any EB-5 offerings and to not act as an officer or director of any entity regulated by the SEC, as part of his agreement with the SEC. A mediation session between the SEC and Quiros was planned for December but could be moved up to the fall, Visconti said.

"We are committed to working with the SEC and all involved to reach an amicable resolution of the remaining issues," she said.

The SEC declined to comment on the case.

The news came a day after Republican Gov. Phil Scott released documents showing that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services intends to close Vermont's immigrant investor regional center following the allegations of fraud at Jay Peak. The USCIS said the center no longer serves the purpose of promoting economic growth by failing to properly manage, monitor and oversee EB-5 projects.

Vermont also has a civil case against Quiros and Stenger.

"The state of Vermont will certainly find opportunities to get involved in the federal proceedings to ensure that the judge is aware of just how great of an impact the defendant's behavior had on our state and making the case that the monetary penalties and the disgorgement should be high," state Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak said.

Jay Peak, a four-season resort, is in northern Vermont near Canada. It says it offers "the East's best skiing and snowboarding" and features a year-round indoor waterpark, an ice arena and a championship golf course.

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