Tags: bernie sanders | 2016 | loan fraud

Report: Did Bernie Sanders' Wife Commit Loan Fraud?

By    |   Friday, 27 Mar 2015 06:14 AM

The wife of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist who is aligned with the Democrat Party, may have committed loan fraud and almost drove a small college into financial ruin, according to a report.

The Daily Caller
published an in-depth story Thursday night that outlined the activities of Jane Sanders, who served as president of Burlington College from 2004-2011.

The school had less than 200 full-time students, but Sanders had a plan to more than double that figure by building a larger campus. A 32-acre chunk of land along the shores of Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vt. went on the market for $10 million in 2010, and Sanders jumped on it.

The school had an annual budget of just $4 million, however, so Sanders worked out a deal with the Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency (VEHBFA) and People's Bank to receive funding.

According to The Daily Caller report, the bank required a commitment of at least $2.27 million of grants and donations before closing. Sanders responded with proof of 31 donors that pledged to donate more than $2.6 million between 2011 and 2016, and said there were other verbal agreements that would amount to more — bringing the total commitments to $5 million.

But the actual money that flowed in was much less.

"According to audits obtained by The [Daily Caller News Foundation], the school listed $1,303,785 in short- and long-term commitments for the year ending June 30, 2011, the same year that the college received the financing," the story reads.

Further digging revealed inconsistencies with the donations promised by Sanders, including a million dollar donation that turned out to be a bequest — which is less legally binding.

Attorney Jonna Spilbor explained how the crime of fraud could have occurred in this case: "One way in which fraud occurs, is when a borrower [in this case, the college] acquires ownership of real property under false pretenses — such as misrepresented income and asset information on a loan application," she told The Daily Caller.

"The college appears to have committed a pretty sophisticated crime. Whether prosecutors will do anything about it, is a whole other story."

Sanders resigned from her position as president in September 2011, less than a year after the real estate deal. She collected a $200,000 severance package, according to The Daily Caller.

Reports swirled that the deal went forward because of preferential treatment stemming from the tie to Bernie Sanders. Jane Sanders told The Daily Caller that wasn't true.

"That's not how business is done in Vermont; nobody gets preferential treatment, and I never asked for it," she said. "I know it's an easy shot, but it wasn't the case."

Christine Plunkett took over as president when Sanders resigned and was unable to improve the school's financial situation, which had turned sour. She resigned in August amid further turmoil.

The school has since been able to pay off some of its debt after selling some land to a real estate developer, reports The Daily Caller.

With Bernie Sanders considering running for president next year, it's unclear how his wife's past would affect voters' opinions of him.

"We need candidates who are prepared to represent the working families of this country, who are prepared to stand up to the big money interests, who are prepared to support an aggressive agenda to expand the middle class," Sanders, who has served in the Senate since 2007, said earlier this month.

"And I am prepared to be that candidate. If there are other candidates who come forward who can do it better than me, that's fine."

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The wife of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist who is aligned with the Democrat Party, may have committed loan fraud and almost drove a small college into financial ruin, according to a report.
bernie sanders, 2016, loan fraud
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2015-14-27
Friday, 27 Mar 2015 06:14 AM
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