Today is definitely not the best day to have the last name of Sanders. Or, y’know, be a crook.
The Vermont watchdog website VTDigger reports that a grand jury has compelled witness testimony in the case of a $10 million land deal arranged in 2010 by Jane Sanders on behalf of the now-defunct Burlington College, where she used to serve as president. Sanders is, of course, the wife of socialist senator and failed Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
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As TFPP has previously covered, Sanders has been under scrutiny ever since Burlington College closed down after it defaulted on the loans it took out for the land deal, which Sanders was accused of applying for using fraudulent information.
Specifically, the college bought 33 acres of lakefront property from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, justified in large part by Sanders’ promises that the price tag would be paid back by a combination of increased student enrollment and pledged donations. Well, the enrollment didn’t pan out, and it turned out that Sanders had wildly misrepresented the pledges, in one case even turning a promise to leave an unspecified amount among a donor’s death into a $1 million donation to be doled out over a specified period.
Even so, Bernie’s wife still walked away with a $200,000 severance package. Nice work, if you can get it.
Sanders spokesman Jeff Weaver attempted to downplay the news as “simply recycling an account of a government interview of a witness from several months ago,” and maintained there is “absolutely no reason to believe that there is a grand jury empaneled to examine Burlington College, Jane Sanders, or any aspect of Dr. Sanders’ service as president of Burlington College.” However, the development could be a precursor to a future determination that criminal charges should be pursued against someone.
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Exactly how many witnesses have been called to testify remains unknown. VTDigger attempts to narrow down the possibilities:
Former Burlington College board member Robin Lloyd says she testified for about an hour on Oct. 26 before a grand jury at the federal courthouse in Burlington […]
The agency’s attorney, James Foley, told VTDigger on Wednesday that [Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency executive director Robert] Giroux has not been called to testify. Giroux has since retired from VEHBFA.
“Since the day we submitted the documents to the Feds, we haven’t heard a peep,” Foley said. “I didn’t even hear, ‘Thank you.’”
While Lloyd was on the board at a critical time, she is a relatively tangential player in the story, and was not directly involved in the day-to-day fundraising operations at the college. She said she was not offered immunity in exchange for her testimony […]
Lloyd said she is unaware if anyone else had been called to testify. Calls to five people who have been interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as part of the investigation went unanswered.
Former Burlington College Board Chair Yves Bradley, who confirmed to Fox News in early December that the investigation was ongoing, told VTDigger on Wednesday that he had not been subpoenaed to testify.
The report notes that the ongoing scandal has “complicated” Bernie’s thought process on whether to run for president again in 2020, not to mention “clouding” his personal outlook.
Yes, Bernie and Jane Sanders are clearly the victims here. I certainly see no problem with leaving them in charge of the nation’s finances and the American people’s money….
Hat tip: Zero Hedge
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