College led by Bernie Sanders’s wife Jane destroyed by debt she ran up
Burlington College is feeling the Bern: it will cease to exist on May 27, rendered insolvent by the debt run up by its former president, Jane Sanders, wife of Bernie Sanders, who wants to add $18 to 21 trillion to the national debt with his proposed spending. The cost of reckless borrowing and spending is hitting very close to home, but the odds of the Vermont senator learning the obvious lesson are low.
The soon to be former college’s hometown paper, the Burlington Free Press, reports:
Burlington College will close later this month, the school announced Monday, citing the "crushing weight of debt" as the reason.
"This is a great loss to the higher-ed community,” President Carol A. Moore said at a news conference on the college campus.
At the news conference, Moore and Dean of Operations and Advancement Coralee Holm said they were "heartbroken" to announce the college's closure. Holm said about 30 faculty and staff, including herself, will lose their jobs. Holm added the state Department of Labor will assist former employees with finding new careers.
The school plans to cease operations by May 27, Holm said.
Heartbreak and personal ruin are the costs. The college officials declined to blame President (Jane) Sanders for the fatal decisions she took during her presidency from 2004 to 2011, but her responsibility is obvious:
The college in 2010 purchased 32 acres along North Avenue from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington for about $10 million. The diocese put the property — including its 77,000-square-foot headquarters building — on the market to help pay costs from priest-abuse litigation. (snip)
Holm, the dean, said the college was able to lower its debt from $11 million to about $2 million. But the college's lender, People's United Bank, told Burlington College in April the bank was declining to renew the school's $1 million line of credit.
Moore, the college president, said Burlington developer Eric Farrell would purchase the college's North Avenue campus from the bank. Burlington College in 2015 sold 27.5 acres of its waterfront campus to Farrell, who plans to develop the site into housing and a park.
Heatstreet reports that legal troubles may lie ahead for the wannabe first lady:
As Heat Street reported last month, the college almost immediately fell short on its financial obligations as fundraising pledges and commitments Ms. Sanders cited in the loan agreements never materialized.
Less than a year after leading Burlington College into massive debt, Ms. Sanders resigned, taking with her a $200,000 severance package. By 2014, because of its shaky finances and running deficits, Burlington College found itself placed on probation for two years by the regional accreditation agency. (snip)
Catholic parishioners in Vermont have called for an investigation into whether Ms. Sanders committed federal bank fraud by deliberately misrepresenting the amount that the college had secured in fundraising pledges as she sought financing for the land purchase.
As Ms. Sanders pursued financing for the land acquisition, she repeatedly said that Burlington College had received more than $2 million in fundraising commitments and pledges, according to numerous records.
But in fiscal year 2011, Burlington College raised only $279,000—though the college had earlier claimed to have secured $1.2 million in confirmed pledges.
Typically, between 91 and 94 percent of fundraising pledges come through, a recent study found after surveying more than a thousand nonprofits.
In January, Vermont lawyer Brady Toensing, who is also vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party, wrote a letter on behalf of Catholic parishioners to the U.S. attorney in Vermont, as well as the inspector general of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, seeking a probe into whether Ms. Sanders fraudulently secured the loans.
The U.S. attorney, Eric Miller, confirmed that he had received the parishioners’ letter but could not comment on the status of any investigation.
Burlington College is simply running out of other people’s money. There is no information currently available about what will happen to the buyers of the $3.5 million in tax-free bonds issued by Burlington College, or to the 30 students who paid deposits to enroll in the school next year.