Matt Dunne sends open letter to Sue Minter regarding single source contract for Newport State Airport

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Matt Dunne sends open letter to Sue Minter regarding single source contract for Newport State Airport

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 4:15pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Matt Dunne today sent the following letter to Sue Minter regarding information his campaign received about a single source state contract with Ariel Quiros for management of the Newport State Airport.

Sue Minter

℅ Molly Ritner, Campaign Manager

Sue Minter for Vermont

P.O. Box 583

Waterbury, Vermont 05676

Dear Sue,

In recent days, our campaign received the attached sole sourced contract executed between the State of Vermont and Ariel Quiros to operate the Newport State Airport, a contract you signed as Secretary of Transportation.

Much has been written about the Q Burke EB-5 debacle since April, when it culminated with the SEC charging Quiros and Bill Stenger with a “ponzi-like” scheme in the worst scandal in Vermont’s history. Many documents were shared with the public at that time, and we both called for transparency and the release of all relevant communications. But this information had not come to light.

This contract was signed well after the administration had raised concerns internally, after related projects had been shut down, and after experienced business people like Tony Pomerleau had walked away from deals with these individuals. I am not an expert on state airport contracts, and given that fact, and in the name of transparency, I’m hopeful you can provide further information in response to the following questions:

  • It’s clear that the Shumlin administration had concerns about these projects before the date on which you signed the contract, even changing the way state oversight was conducted. Were you aware of those concerns at the time you executed the contract?

  • Why did you believe that it was appropriate to sign a state contract with Ariel Quiros after concerns had been raised about his business practices?

  • What due diligence did you conduct to ensure this contract passed muster?

  • Why was Q-Resorts deemed the only vendor capable of providing the necessary services at the state airport in Newport?

  • If other vendors, such as the ones that perform similar services at the state’s busiest airports in Burlington and Rutland, were capable of providing these services, why didn’t the contract go out for bid?

  • If you had concerns about the contract or the related contracting process, what did you do at the time to raise them?

Voters should have all available information as they head to the polls. In fact, they should have had this information in April when the initial reports were revealed.

Sincerely,

Matt Dunne

Context:

May 2014 - Tony Pomerleau pulls out of land deal with Stenger: “I've been waiting for four years, I can't wait any longer," Pomerleau said Monday. “I haven't received one dime and we're talking about a big deal, millions of dollars.”

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/2014/05/05/pomerleau-pulls-plug-nek-waterfront-project/8737839/

Summer 2014 - Moulton and Raymond suspend two projects — Q Burke and AnC Bio Vermont — after the Jay Peak developers refused to respond to requests for financial documents.

https://vtdigger.org/2016/07/25/documents-suggest-state-ignored-warnings-about-jay-peak-in-2012/

July 2014 - The first EB-5 investors go public with concerns about the project’s financial management.

https://bartonchronicle.com/stenger-admits-investors-informed-late/

9/10/14 - Ariel Quiros signs a single source contract for FBO at the Newport State Airport. The contract is valued at $54,400 and runs from 7/1/14 - 6/30/16.

9/29/14 - Gov. Shumlin sends a letter to ACCD and DFR asking for collaboration on EB-5.

10/22/14 - Investors, growing increasingly frustrated, raise further concerns with the process.

http://vtdigger.org/2014/10/22/sense-betrayal-eb-5-investors-go-public/

1/23/15 - Minter signs the single source contract with Ariel Quiros.

6/24/15 - It becomes public knowledge that the Jay Peak projects are under an SEC investigation.

http://vtdigger.org/2015/06/24/jay-peak-projects-under-sec-investigation/

4/14/16 - Quiros and Stenger face federal charges of a “ponzi-like” scheme including the misuse of more than $200 million in investor funds.

http://vermontbiz.com/news/april/state-files-suit-alleging-investor-fraud-jay-peak-inc-eb-5-projects