Oh looky here, another top Shumlin administration has turned in his resignation. This time, it’s Brent Raymond, the chief overseer of (and cheerleader for) EB-5 programs in Vermont. His biggest task has been to kinda-sorta ride herd on the Bill Stenger suite of projects, including a major expansion of his ski resort in the Northeast Kingdom.
And where’s Mr. Raymond going?
Raymond said Monday he has accepted a position working for Mt. Snow and Peak Resorts…. Mt. Snow has a $52 million EB-5 project with the Vermont Regional Center.
… Raymond said as part of his new duties he will be working on Mt. Snow’s EB-5 project.
Small world, isn’t it?
Once again, I am moved to say “This is exactly the kind of thing that makes people think our government is a den of corruption and insider dealings.”
And “This is the kind of thing that illustrates, as if any further illustration was required, the need for an independent state Ethics Commission. And some tougher ethics laws, while we’re at it.”
This move couldn’t be any more transparent. I have to hand it to Peak Resorts; they’ve certainly co-opted — er, sorry, “hired” — a guy who knows his way around the oft-hazy regulatory atmosphere around the EB-5 program.
And who doesn’t mind adding his own ethical fog to the haze. VTDigger:
Raymond has said that he is looking out for the investors’ best interests and has denied his relationship is “cozy” with the Jay Peak CEO. Yet in email correspondence he called Stenger a “great man,” and coordinated with him on strategy to win back investors’ confidence.
In the wake of a VTDigger report on investor complaints, Raymond offered to help Stenger, the CEO and president of Jay Peak. Raymond wrote in an email to Stenger that he hoped “we can repair this reputational damage, and move on, but it won’t be easy.”
“You’re still a great man in my book,” Raymond continues.
Tough-minded regulator, or obsequious minion? You make the call.
Well, from now on Brent Raymond won’t have to try to cover all the bases at once; he can wear his pom-poms with pride. And call on his experience and connections with the Agency for Commerce and Community Development — recently named State Agency Most Likely To Be a Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy* — on behalf of his new employer.
*I think that was in the Seven Daysies poll. Could be wrong.
Raymond leaves a trail of gray in his wake, along with a whole lot of unanswered questions about the state’s oversight of EB-5 — and about the Stenger project’s chances for success.
And from what I hear, he may not be the last ACCD functionary beating a hasty path for the door. Hint hint.