Header image courtesy of Jay Peak Resort
Vermont ski areas Jay Peak and Burke Mountain, which have been embroiled in the EB-5 fraud scandal allegedly masterminded by Miami, Florida-based businessman Ariel Quiros, will go on the market as early as May 2018, according to Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver for Jay and Burke.
Earlier this month, Quiros and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reached a settlement in the EB-5 fraud case, with Quiros agreeing to pay back $81 million and relinquish ownership of both resorts. According to Goldberg, the settlement now puts the investors harmed by the EB-5 ponzi-scheme into ownership roles of both Jay and Burke. The ski areas were never included in the original investments made by the EB-5 investors, and therefore they stand to regain a great deal of money when the two resorts are sold, which Goldberg believes will happen before the 2018-19 ski season.
“I will tell you, based on the contracts they were not entitled to the mountains,” Goldberg said during Jay Peak’s Clips & Reels Recreation Center ribbon cutting event last week. “These people signed documents that gave them an interest in partnerships, now they have full ownership of the entire resort.”
Both ski areas have rebounded significantly since Goldberg took over receivership in April 2016—Jay Peak’s Stateside condominium complex has been finished, its tram has received a $5.1 million repair and investments in snowmaking and non-winter facilities have been made, while Burke has received lift and snowmaking upgrades, too.
How much the resorts will go for is unknown, but the sales process will involve private equity buyers as well as bids from resort and hospitality companies, according to Goldberg.
With all of this ski resort consolidation and purchasing occurring, could Jay and Burke suddenly be in the mix of power players like Alterra Mountain Company and Vail Resorts? We’ll just have to wait and find out.