Motion Filed to Allow State to Disclose Documents
The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) and the Attorney General's Office (AGO) filed a motion with the Superior Court Washington Unit that would allow the State to publicly disclose documents relating to the alleged fraud case against Ariel Quiros and Bill Stenger.
These motions are the next step in Governor Phil Scott's plan (http://governor.vermont.gov/press-release/governor-phil-scott-releases-plan-expedited-disclosure-records-pertaining-eb-5-0) - developed by DFR in consultation with the AGO - to expedite public disclosure of records relating to the EB-5 program. Typically, all documents relevant to the litigation would remain sealed until the conclusion of the case, but under this plan the State will ask the Court to allow for release as the State produces files to the defendants.
"Given the significant public interest in one of largest alleged fraud cases in Vermont's history, I feel it's important to take these steps to put documents forward as quickly as possible, while ensuring we preserve the integrity of the legal process as we seek justice in this matter," said Gov. Scott. "I appreciate the work of DFR and the Attorney General in developing strong motions in support of release, and we are optimistic we will gain approval to begin releasing these documents to the public."
The first motion asks the Court to permit the State to file the documents under seal while the Court determines, as requested by the second motion, whether to make the documents public. If the Court grants the State's motions, the State will make public all documents ruled discoverable, on a rolling basis, to the extent not subject to other public record exemptions, such as executive privilege of previous administrations or attorney-client privilege.
DFR has worked with a third-party vendor to comply with state and federal law to remove personally identifiable information (such as social security numbers and bank account information), which will further expedite the public disclosure process. The first 5,000 documents have been reviewed and are ready to be posted, upon court approval.
"We're pleased to take another step forward as part of the Governor's unique disclosure plan, as a matter of public interest and restoring trust in this program," said DFR Commissioner Michael Pieciak. "Releasing the documents as they are disclosed to the defense will result in a far faster public records disclosure process than is typical in litigation."
Documents will be released and made available on the DFR website on a rolling basis, when produced to the defendants and approved by the Court. There are an estimated 1.5 million pages of Jay Peak-related documents in the State's possession that may be subject to discovery. Documents will be made public in the same order as they are provided to the defendants. The first batch of 5,000 documents includes a representative sample of the documents obtained during DFR's 14-month investigation and include the defendants' financial and business records.
View the motions at http://www.dfr.vermont.gov/jay-peak-legal-documents#filings-022318.
View the Governor's full disclosure plan http://governor.vermont.gov/press-release/governor-phil-scott-releases-plan-expedited-disclosure-records-pertaining-eb-5-0.
Media Contacts: Rebecca Kelley, Office of the Governor, 802-828-6403, email@example.com; Stephanie Brackin, Department of Financial Regulation, 802-828-4872, firstname.lastname@example.org